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Royals release Jonathan Sanchez, assign five others to minor leagues

The comeback hits a snag.

Kansas City Royals Photo Day Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images

The Royals have released left-handed pitcher Jonathan Sanchez and assigned five other to minor league camp, according to reporter Jeffrey Flanagan. The Royals sent catcher Parker Morin, first baseman Ryan O’Hearn, infielder Garin Cecchini, and pitchers Bobby Parnell and Chris Withrow to the minors. The moves leave 38 players left in big league camp. The club released veteran Brandon League over the weekend.

The 34-year old Sanchez was in his second tour with the Royals, having pitched disastrously in Kansas City in 2012. He was out of affiliated baseball last year, but a scout saw him throw in the mid-90s in Puerto Rico last year, which netted Sanchez an invite to camp. Sanchez, who had always struggled with command, walked five in 4 13 innings, and was hit hard with nine hits and nine runs for an 18.69 ERA this spring.

Parnell had an outside chance at winning a bullpen spot as a veteran non-roster invitee, but struggled this spring, giving up 13 runs in six innings, including two in less than an inning of work today against the Reds. The former Mets closer has not been the same since Tommy John surgery in 2014.

Chris Withrow is another Tommy John survivor, but he had decent results in 37 23 innings for the Braves last year with a 3.58 ERA. He struck out five in 4 13 innings, but gave up four runs on seven hits. He is still just 27 years old and was once a first-round pick. Withrow can opt out of his contract on June 1.

Cecchini was a former top 100 prospect with the Red Sox, but has struggled to hit for power the last two seasons, bouncing around from the Brewers before signing with the Royals last winter. He can play first base, third base, and the outfield, and should be a valuable veteran for AAA Omaha.

Ryan O’Hearn is one of the top power-hitting prospects for the Royals, who hit 22 home runs across A Wilmington and AA Northwest Arkansas last year. O’Hearn hit his second home run in camp today against the Reds. Morin is a 25-year old catcher who hit just .184 in 76 games for Omaha last year.