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Archive for Thursday, March 27, 2003

Royals finalize opening-day roster

March 27, 2003

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— Left-handed pitchers Rick DeHart and Scott Mullen were among four players cut Wednesday as the Kansas City Royals finalized their 25-man opening-day roster.

With Topeka native DeHart reassigned to the club's minor-league camp and Mullen optioned to Triple-A Omaha, the Royals will start the season with an 11-man pitching staff and no left-handers in the bullpen.

Not on the roster for Monday's opening day is Carlos Beltran, who has not played since March 10 because of a right oblique strain. Although the club hasn't placed him on the disabled list, that's where he will open the season.

"I don't see Beltran on opening day," Royals manager Tony Pena said. "He hasn't swung a bat in a while."

The Royals said Beltran would be with the team for the opener in Kansas City and would then return to Arizona to continue his rehabilitation.

The Royals also reassigned infielder Jarrod Patterson, who hit .458 in 16 exhibition games, and right-handed reliever Sean Lowe, who has pitched in the majors with the Chicago White Sox, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Colorado Rockies, to their minor-league camp.

"We've got three left-handers in the rotation," said Pena, referring to Jeremy Affeldt, Chris George and Darrell May.

"I would love to have a lefty in the bullpen I feel comfortable with, but I didn't feel comfortable with what I saw (of DeHart and Mullen) in spring training," Pena said.

DeHart was 1-0 with a 1.04 ERA in eight relief appearances, while Mullen had a 7.00 ERA. Opponents hit .325 against Mullen.

"DeHart had good numbers, but his stuff was inconsistent," Pena said. "DeHart threw the ball well, but I just didn't see sharpness in his breaking ball, and the same way with Mullen."

Pena said Patterson, a career .300 hitter in 10 minor-league seasons who had a .533 on-base percentage in 16 exhibition games, was the toughest cut.

Lowe had an 11.57 ERA in seven exhibition outings.

The Royals decided to keep right-handed outfielders Brandon Berger, who hit .288 in 20 spring games, and Rontrez Johnson, claimed off waivers from Oakland, and utility player Mendy Lopez.

Pena said Berger, who hit .201 with six home runs and 17 RBIs in 51 games as a rookie last year, would start in right field against the Chicago White Sox in Monday's opener.

Pena said he would platoon Berger and Dee Brown in right field to start the season.

Two other non-roster players are also hurt and likely will begin the season on the disabled list in the minors: pitcher James Baldwin, oblique strain, and catcher Juan Brito, who hurt his thumb Tuesday.

Royals rout Giants: Joe Randa homered twice and drove in four runs, and Raul Ibanez had four of the Kansas City Royals' 21 hits in a 13-5 victory Wednesday over a split squad of San Francisco Giants.

Michael Tucker and Randa hit back-to-back homers in the second inning. Randa added a three-run shot in a five-run fourth for a 9-2 lead.

Agbayani acquired: The Royals purchased the contract of outfielder Benny Agbayani from Cincinnati Tuesday.

Agbayani has played nearly four years in the majors with the New York Mets, the Colorado Rockies and the Boston Red Sox. He was assigned to the Royals' Triple-A club in Omaha.

In 383 games in the majors, mostly with the Mets, Agbayani has a .274 batting average.

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