Manager Ned Yost announced that Luis Mendoza has won the fifth and final spot in the Royals rotation, edging out Bruce Chen who will pitch out of the bullpen. Mendoza pitched in three Cactus League games and had a 0.82 ERA, along with a 2-0 record. In 11 innings, he gave up one run, 10 hits and two walks, with eight strikeouts. Mendoza missed some time to pitch for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.
The Royals five-man pitching lineup is complete with James Shields, Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie and Wade Davis along with Mendoza.
Chen has worked in four games, with a 7.90 ERA and a 1-1 record. While he had 12 strikeouts and only three walks in 13.2 innings, seven of the 16 hits allowed were home runs, including five in his last start. Chen worked out of the bullpen in the team’s 11-6 win over Seattle and worked out of a bases loaded jam.
Another good sign is starting centerfielder Lorenzo Cain continues to hit the ball well. Cain was 2-for-4 with a double, raising his spring average to .442.
The Royals improved their spring record to a franchise-best 23-6-1 ahead of Wednesday’s split squad game.