Surprise, Ariz. Kansas City manager Buddy Bell on Thursday named right-hander Scott Elarton to be his starter for the April 3 season opener against the Detroit Tigers.
Elarton, who began last season as the Cleveland Indians' No. 5 starter, signed a two-year contract with the Royals in December. He went 11-9 with a 4.61 earned-run average in 31 starts last season and has a career record of 50-47 with a 5.10 ERA.
It will be Elarton's second opening-day assignment. After going 17-7 with a 4.81 ERA in 2000 with Houston, he started the 2001 opener, taking an 11-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
"It's an honor," Elarton said. "I've been the opening-day starter and have been pretty much everything in between. I've been No. 5, also. To me it doesn't really matter. As long as I get the ball every fifth day, I'll be happy with that."
Elarton started Thursday and picked up a 12-4 victory over the Texas Rangers. He went four innings and allowed one run on three hits - a Kevin Mench home run - while walking two and striking out two.
Bell has not selected the starters behind Elarton.
The Royals' rotation has been dismantled in spring training, with left-hander Mark Redman having knee surgery and Zack Greinke leaving for personal reasons.
Candidates to fill out the rotation are right-handers Joe Mays, Runelvys Hernandez, Denny Bautista and Mike Wood, and left-handers Jeremy Affeldt and J.P. Howell.
Jose Lima, the Royals' opening-day starter last season, is no longer with the club. He became a free agent and signed a minor-league contract with the New York Mets.