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Spring Training Gamethread IX: Mariners at Royals

The Royals seek to go back above .500, today.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds
Billy Hamilton will lead off for the Royals, today.
Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

More Spring Training, more games where the points don’t matter. The Royals are allowing speedy switch hitter Billy Hamilton to lead things off while Brad Keller takes the mound for the first time, this year. Every Royal in the starting lineup seems likely to make the roster.

One interesting note beyond the game is that the Royals seem to be indicating they’ll send Meibrys Viloria to the big leagues this year if Salvador Perez does, in fact, require season ending surgery on his throwing elbow. I’ve already said I don’t think that’s the best move for the team, but it’s definitely better than signing any of the available free agents just to fill the spot.

Anyway, Keller will be trying to prove he should continue to remain a front runner for the Royals’ rotation. The Mariners will counter with Yusei Kikuchi. The left-handed hurler was signed out of the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization by the Mariners at the start of the year to a complicated contract which may last three, four, or seven years depending on several factors including a player option and a team option. So far he’s made one appearance this spring where he pitched two innings and struck out one while earning the win. Kikuchi was a star for the Saitama Seibu Lions for the past seven years and had a career ERA of 2.81 in the NPB. He figures to be in the conversation for opening day starter for the Seattle Mariners.