KANSAS CITY -- As injuries and fatigue gripped the 2016 Royals, they missed the postseason for the first time since '13. Still, they finished 81-81 for their fourth consecutive non-losing season, a successful stretch they have not accomplished in more than a quarter of a century.
Expectations for 2017 are high. Kansas City will get a healthy Mike Moustakas back at third base, along with Lorenzo Cain in the outfield and Jason Vargas in the rotation. A return trip to the World Series should be within reach.
The Royals will begin the season at Minnesota on April 3 at 3:10 p.m. CT. Kansas City had its way with the last-place Twins in 2016, winning 15 of 19. Minnesota likely will open with former Royals right-hander Ervin Santana on the mound.
OPENING DAY STARTER
Left-hander Danny Duffy likely will be Kansas City's Opening Day starter. Duffy became the team's ace by midseason, finishing with a 12-3 record and a 3.51 ERA.