Royals still battling for 2B, RF, bullpen spots

Royals still battling for 2B, RF, bullpen spots

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Competition for the second base, right field and bullpen jobs will remain open right through the final week of camp, Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Omar Infante, the incumbent at second base, continues to battle for the job this spring with Christian Colon. Yost isn't hinting who has the edge.

"We're having discussions and we're getting together as an organization, as we always do, and we talk about all aspects of our club," Yost said.

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Infante, who has tried to work through elbow and shoulder issues the past two seasons, had surgery in November to shave a bone spur in his right elbow. Infante said he feels 100 percent now and is much stronger physically, the result of weight training he can do now after not being able to do it for two years.

"I just feel I have more power," Infante said. "It's good."

Infante is hitting .313 with two doubles this spring. He hasn't been tested much in the field, but Yost knows what Infante can do defensively. Yost's main concern is seeing if Infante is healthy.

"That's a lot of it," Yost said. "He's got to be healthy and productive. He's doing OK."

Colon broke a 0-for-23 drought on Wednesday with two hits. But Colon knows that to win the job, he'll have to prove he can be solid defensively.

"If you're going to be an everyday player," Colon said, "it starts with that."

The right-field job, with Jarrod Dyson out until mid-April with a strained oblique, would appear to be Paulo Orlando's. Still, who will back up Orlando remains to be seen. Reymond Fuentes is hitting .375 with two homers and has stood out defensively. Travis Snider and Whit Merrifield also are in competition for the backup outfielder spots.

"Paulo definitely has done a great job," Yost said. "It's a matter of who is going to complement him and who's the right fit. But we take those decisions right down to the end."

The battle for one or two bullpen spots still is too muddled to forecast. Along with the big four of Wade Davis, Luke Hochevar, Joakim Soria and Kelvin Herrera, it would appear Danny Duffy and Dillon Gee are slotted for bullpen duty.

Wang on velocity increase

There is a large cast of candidates -- Chien-Ming Wang, Brian Flynn, Brian Duensing, Peter Moylan, John Lannan, David Huff and Ross Ohlendorf -- fighting for perhaps only one spot. Wang has his velocity up to 94-95 mph and is emerging as a strong candidate.

"There's no sense making our minds up right now," Yost said, "because there is so much that can still happen."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.