KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Brandon Duckworth accepted an assignment to Triple-A Omaha and will be in Royals Spring Training as a non-roster player, the club announced Friday.

Duckworth was dropped from the 40-man roster to make room for pitcher Brett Tomko, who signed as a free agent.

Last season Duckworth had a 3-5 record and a 4.63 ERA in 26 games. Also a non-roster invitee last year, he made the Opening Day roster and made three starts before switching to the bullpen. In mid-June, he suffered an oblique injury and was out until Sept. 1.

This spring he's expected to compete for a bullpen spot and could also figure in the large field aiming for the fourth and fifth starter spots.

The Royals expect to have 30 pitchers in camp, 20 of them on the 40-man roster.

Ramsay, Mizerock honored: A first-year scout and a long-time manager have been selected to receive awards by the Royals organization.

Scott Ramsay earned the Ewing M. Kauffman Award presented annually to a scouting department associate. In his first season with the Royals, he covered the Northwest section of the U.S. and signed 2007 fourth-round pick Mitch Hodge plus Hilton Richardson (seventh round) and Keaton Hayenga (31st round).

John Mizerock won the Dick Howser Award that goes each year to a player development associate. Mizerock, with the Royals since 1993, managed the Class A Wilmington Blue Rocks to the Carolina League playoffs. He will return to the Royals' big league staff this year as the bullpen coach.

Quotable: New manager Trey Hillman's probable lineup might lean to the left side but that doesn't bother him. If the opponent throws a left-hander, it might not alter the batting order too much.

"I will definitely play matchups, but if our established left-handed hitters are doing a good job of staying in left-on-left, they're going to play. There's not going to be any hard-and-fast rule to it," Hillman said. "I'm not one of these managers that has to have all right-handed hitters against a nasty left-hander."