Dutton mentioned in his article today that while it may mean nothing at all, Davies and Ponson are lined up to start the 3rd and 4th games of the season on normal rest if no changes are made. Meche, Greinke, and Davies as the top 3 has been all but a foregone conclusion throughout camp, but the last two slots have been up in the air with none of Hoch, Bannister, or Ramirez doing much to separate themselves from the pack so far this spring. When Ponson was initially brought in, most informed fans took it as a depth signing--an improvement over Duckworth for the Royals' 7th starter. In the last few days, however, Hoch has been bumped from a major league game to a minor league appearance to make way for Ponson to be evaluated in the A-game, and now this scheduling appearance would again seem to indicate that Ponson may have the inside track out of the 4 starting pitchers competing for the last two spots in the rotation.
I personally would not mind if he did have the inside track out of the four, but I suspect that it would displease a large cross-section of the RR faithful. The stats-based projections for Bannister, Hoch, Ponson, and Ramirez are all quite similar, and if trained eyes are convinced that they're seeing better pitches coming out of Ponson's hand than from the other three, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt until Ponson gets lit up a couple starts in a row and Banny is mowing em down in Omaha. Until then, I don't think it makes a big difference who of those 4 start the season in the rotation beyond the standard options/waivers concerns.
What do others think? Is it time to start firing up the anti-Ponson comment machine yet? Are we going to be handing out innings to a no-upside 30+ pitcher when we'll have younger pitchers in Omaha who would likely do a comparable job? Would that be a problem?