3/14/2014 10:40 P.M. ET
Duffy finds inconsistency in quest for fifth-starter spot
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Danny Duffy didn't score many points on Friday in his quest to win the Royals' fifth and final rotation job.
Duffy lasted just two innings in the 9-9 tie with the A's, giving up five runs, and his Cactus League ERA jumped to 11.00 for nine innings of work. His competition, right-hander Yordano Ventura, has a 2.89 ERA for 9 1/3 innings.
"I thought [Duffy] was real inconsistent, I thought he was fighting himself," manager Ned Yost said. "His stuff was good, I liked his breaking ball. He was just up with the fastball. I thought what he did tremendously today was control the running game -- that was really impressive."
Duffy still felt confident and pointed to his comeback showing last season.
"I went 2-0 last year in five starts with a sub-2.00 [1.85 ERA] so I know that I have something better than I'm showing right now," Duffy said. "They know it too. They've been watching me since I was 18. It's frustrating but you turn the page after I leave these doors today and get back after it tomorrow."
Lefty Bruce Chen, already slotted in the rotation, pitched four innings against San Diego Minor Leaguers on Friday and was reported to have done well although no line was available.
The pitcher that most impressed on Friday. Yost was his recent appointee to the bullpen, right-hander Wade Davis. He struck out the A's side in the fifth on 12 pitches.
"Wade Davis was lights out," Yost said. "That could be the best one-inning stint of the spring."
Pena makes impression on Yost, Royals
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Francisco Pena was a smash success right to the end.
Pena belted a home run with two outs in the ninth inning on Friday to salvage a 9-9 tie with the A's for the Royals. A few minutes later Pena was in manager Ned Yost's office being told he'd been optioned to Triple-A Omaha.
The move pointed to veteran Brett Hayes as the likely backup catcher for Salvador Perez. The only other two catchers in camp are Adam Moore and Ramon Hernandez, both non-roster players, and Hernandez hasn't caught at all yet because of a sore knee.
Also optioned to Omaha were second baseman/shortstop Christian Colon and pitcher Michael Mariot.
Pena, son of former Royals manager Tony Pena, was signed after seven years in the Mets' Minor League system.
"I'm really proud of him," Yost said, noting that Pena came into camp with two goals.
"One was to make the team and the other thing was to come in here and really make a great impression, new to the organization, and he did," Yost said. "He made a phenomenal impression on all of us. He can catch, he can throw, he can swing the bat. Some of those blocks he made today were as good of blocks as you're going to see in a big league game.
"He's such a wonderful young man, he's got a great personality, he's got a great work ethic and he established that. He wanted to come in here and make a favorable good first impression and he did that. So we're really pleased and glad he's with us."
That wasn't the only awkward cut of the afternoon for Yost. Because starting pitcher Danny Duffy had a short outing, Mariot had to be rushed in to pitch the third inning instead of being used late in the game as planned. As a result, Mariot got his Omaha news early.
"So I had to tell him in the dugout," Yost said. "So that was extremely awkward, too. But I didn't want him coming up here [to the clubhouse] and waiting for 2 1/2 hours waiting for me to come up here, knowing what it was going to be about."
Mariot, a right-hander, was still hopeful of competing for the seventh and last slot in the bullpen. He gave up three hits and a run in his one inning on Friday.
Colon was one of the infielders seeking a backup job. He had an RBI single in his final at-bat on Friday, finishing at .296 (8-for-27).
Royals cut three lefties from spring roster
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-handed pitchers Everett Teaford, Justin Marks and Scott Alexander were cut from the Royals' roster at their Major League camp on Friday.
Marks was optioned to Triple-A Omaha. Teaford and Alexander were assigned to the Minor League camp.
Of the three, only Teaford has Major League experience. In the past three years, he's pitched 45 games (eight starts) for Kansas City with a 3-5 record and a 4.25 ERA. He's also spent time with Omaha in those three seasons.
"All of three of them are getting to the point where they're on the radar up here," manager Ned Yost said. "I like Alexander and Marks, and all three guys could pitch out of the 'pen and be effective for us."
Marks has been primarily a starter in the Minors and had a 6-13 record last year for Omaha. Alexander was a reliever with three different clubs last year, mostly with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, posting a 5.18 ERA in 24 games.
Troncoso signs Minor League deal with Royals
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Ramon Troncoso has signed a Minor League contract with the Royals, the club announced on Friday.
Troncoso, 31, pitched for the White Sox last season with a 1-4 record and 4.50 ERA in 29 relief appearances. He was on the disabled list from Aug. 17 to Sept. 6 with inflammation of the lining around his heart but returned to pitch in four games including two scoreless innings against the Royals.
He pitched from 2008-11 for the Dodgers, going 8-8 with a 3.92 ERA in a total 175 games. In 2009, Troncoso made 73 appearances with a 5-4 record, six saves and a 2.72 ERA. In the postseason, he pitched three scoreless innings against the Phillies in the National League Championship Series.
Troncoso will report to the Minor League training camp.
Randa, Suppan helping to instruct Minor Leaguers
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals alumni just keep coming.
Former third baseman Joe Randa and pitcher Jeff Suppan have joined Royals Hall of Famers Dennis Leonard, John Mayberry and Willie Wilson in the Minor League camp, helping instruct the young players for several days.
"We're working in player development, helping the instructors follow through with what they're teaching," Randa said.
There's a bit of speech-making as well.
"Motivational things about working hard and trying to get them mentally prepared for the opportunity, if it comes, in the big leagues," Randa said.
Former captain Mike Sweeney, now a special assistant to baseball operations, is back for another session with the Major and Minor leaguers. Hall of Famer George Brett, vice president of baseball operations, has been in camp most of the spring as an instructor.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.