Royals make final roster decisions
Kansas City ready to open 2008 regular season in Detroit
MILWAUKEE -- There were no surprises as the Royals announced their last cuts on Saturday.
The Royals got down to their Opening Day roster of 24 from the 35 who were still on the Spring Training roster before Saturday's final exhibition game against the Brewers.
Catcher Miguel Olivo's suspension for the first four games of the season is causing the Royals to begin the season one player short. They'll go to 25 active players on April 5.
Cut were infielders Ryan Shealy, Angel Berroa and Jason Smith, outfielder Mitch Maier and pitchers Joel Peralta, Brandon Duckworth, Neal Musser, Brad Salmon and injured Hideo Nomo and Luke Hudson.
All, except for Hudson, were assigned to Triple-A Omaha.
With Olivo out, rookie catcher Matt Tupman was kept as a backup for John Buck.
Dropping Shealy was a tough call because he banged four home runs and had 10 RBIs in spring games with a .286 batting average and a .612 slugging percentage. But incumbent first baseman Ross Gload, who has a two-year contract, was out of options, and Shealy had an option left.
Also, if Olivo had not been suspended, Shealy might have made the roster as the 25th man.
"You never know in this game. It's a long summer," Shealy said. "I had fun, and I was healthy -- that was the big thing."
Shealy, who began last season as the regular first baseman, fought injuries most of the year.
Peralta, a durable and versatile reliever who pitched in 62 games last season, had a tough time throwing strikes (seven walks and one hit batter in 9 1/3 innings). He's still deemed very valuable, but Leo Nunez got the call. Nunez, who pitched more effectively, was out of options, and Peralta was not.
"I'm happy with what we're breaking with and happy that we're breaking healthy," manager Trey Hillman said.
Here's the final 24-man roster:
Pitchers (11) -- John Bale, Brian Bannister, Jimmy Gobble, Zack Greinke, Ron Mahay, Gil Meche, Nunez, Ramon Ramirez, Joakim Soria, Brett Tomko and Yasuhiko Yabuta
Catchers (2) -- Buck and Tupman
Infielders (7) -- Billy Butler, Alberto Callaspo, Esteban German, Gload, Alex Gordon, Mark Grudzielanek and Tony Pena Jr.
Outfielders (4) -- David DeJesus, Joey Gathright, Jose Guillen and Mark Teahen
Technically, at this minute, the Royals are at 25 because Olivo's suspension doesn't actually start until Monday. But, to keep it simple, disregard that.
Hudson, recovering from shoulder surgery and still at Surprise, Ariz., will go on the disabled list. Nomo, a non-roster player with a groin injury, will return to Arizona for treatment.
Yabuta, bruised in the right leg by a line drive in Friday night's game, apparently will escape the disabled list.
"Very good report today -- better than we had anticipated," Hillman said. "The training crew thinks it made a lot of progress with it last night. We're hopeful for Opening Day -- cautiously hopeful."
Shealy, Maier, Peralta and Musser were optioned to Omaha because they are on the 40-man roster. The others, as non-roster players, merely were reassigned.
The next call is when the Royals go to 25 players, with Olivo presumably replacing Tupman, will they go to 12 pitchers or add another position player?
Hillman said he knows how that will go, but he isn't ready to reveal the answer yet.
The Royals left immediately after their game against the Brewers to Detroit, where they'll work out on Sunday morning. The season opener against the Tigers is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. CT on Monday at Comerica Park.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.