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Royals assign Peter O’Brien, eight others to minors

The last bullpen spot will likely go to Peter Moylan

San Francisco Giants v Kansas City Royals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Royals assigned nine players to minor league camp on Monday, including outfielders Peter O’Brien and Billy Burns, coming closer to finalizing the Opening Day roster. The club also sent out relievers Scott Alexander, Eric Stout, Yender Caramo, Malcom Culver, and Al Alburquerque, which means the last bullpen spot has likely been won by Peter Moylan. Moylan has an opt-out in his contract that can be exercised if he is not on the roster by Tuesday. Catcher Zane Evans and infielder Humberto Arteaga were also assigned to minor league camp.

Moylan will join a bullpen that includes Kelvin Herrera, Matt Strahm, Joakim Soria, Mike Minor, Travis Wood, and Chris Young. The 38-year old sidearmer signed a minor league deal after posting a 3.43 ERA in 44 23 innings for the Royals last year. He had competition in camp from a number of veteran minor league free agents like Alburquerque, Jonathan Sanchez, and Chris Withrow, and some young arms that impressed in camp like Caramo and Alexander. Moylan will need to be added to the 40-man roster, which is currently full.

O’Brien had been the talk of camp with seven home runs, tied for the most in baseball in spring training. But with Brandon Moss at designated hitter, the Royals did not feel they had room for O’Brien, even with an injury to Jorge Soler that may force him to the disabled list to start the year. Billy Burns also had a shot to make the team, but with one more option year, he will begin the year in Omaha. If Soler starts the year on the disabled list, the Royals have said speedster Terrance Gore could make the team. He would join Drew Butera, Christian Colón, and Cheslor Cuthbert on the Royals bench. Whit Merrifield seems likely headed to Omaha now that Raúl Mondesí has been named the starting second baseman because Colón and Cuthbert are out of options.