Royals place premium on bats for Wild Card roster

Only nine pitchers selected for playoff game against A's

Royals place premium on bats for Wild Card roster

KANSAS CITY -- A nine-man pitching staff, including three starters in addition to tonight's pitcher, James Shields, was included on the roster announced by the Royals for the American League Wild Card Game against the A's.

Starters Jeremy Guthrie, Yordano Ventura and Danny Duffy - all except Jason Vargas - are on the staff, reduced from the usual 12 or 13 because this roster is for the AL Wild Card Game only. A new roster will be in place if the Royals advance to the AL Division Series against the Angels.

"You have to set yourself up for every scenario. If something happens to Juego [Shields] and he takes a line drive off his shin or his elbow in the second inning, you've got to have length there," manager Ned Yost said.

One surprise was that reliever Aaron Crow was left off the roster. Instead the Royals went with veteran right-hander Jason Frasor. Another newcomer on the staff is rookie left-hander Brandon Finnegan, selected in the first round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.

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The heart of the bullpen, of course, is in place with Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland.

Infielders Christian Colon and Jayson Nix were selected as backups, and outfielders Raul Ibanez and Josh Willingham are on primarily as pinch-hitters.

Outfielder Terrance Gore, who started the season in Class A Advanced Wilmington, was kept active as a pinch-runner.

"We've been using [Jarrod] Dyson in the seventh inning when we're ahead as a defensive replacement for [Nori] Aoki, so that takes away our late-inning pinch-runner. So we're looking at Gore to fill that spot," Yost said.

Players active at the end of the season who were left off the roster: Pitchers Francisley Bueno, Casey Coleman, Louis Coleman, Tim Collins, Crow, Scott Downs, Liam Hendriks and Vargas; catcher Francisco Pena; infielder Johnny Giavotella, and outfielders Lane Adams and Carlos Peguero.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.