Royals taking it slow with Kennedy, Hammel

Royals taking it slow with Kennedy, Hammel

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Basically everyone either in the Royals' rotation or competing for a job is listed in the probables for the first six games of Spring Training.

That would be except right-handers Ian Kennedy and Jason Hammel, who, of course, are locks for the rotation.

This is by design, manager Ned Yost said.

"We're just backing them off early," Yost said. "We're starting early with games because of the [World Baseball Classic] and there's no reason to get them started this early."

Left-hander Danny Duffy, who starts on Tuesday, is on a bit of a different schedule because of his commitment to the World Baseball Classic in March. Left-hander Jason Vargas, another lock for the rotation who starts on Monday, is on a different schedule because he threw just 12 innings in 2016 after having Tommy John surgery in '15.

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Chris Young, Nathan Karns and Travis Wood are getting starts the first week primarily because they are competing for the No. 5 spot in the rotation.

Kennedy said he is 100 percent healthy and feels great this spring.

"I'm getting all my work in," Kennedy said. "There's no reason for us to have more starts in Spring Training. We know what it takes to get ready for the season. It's usually about six starts. If you start too soon, you got to back off later."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.