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Cuthbert looking to make Royals' roster

Third baseman was slowed by back injury during 2018
Kansas City Royals' Cheslor Cuthbert smiles in the dugout after scoring a run against the Chicago Cubs during the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game Wednesday, March 14, 2018, in Surprise, Ariz. The Royals defeated the Cubs 7-6. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) (Ross D. Franklin/AP)
February 14, 2019

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert said that although he was surprised that the Royals dropped him from the 40-man roster this offseason, he had no hard feelings."It surprised me, but it's baseball and I understand these situations," Cuthbert said. "You never know what can happen. They said

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert said that although he was surprised that the Royals dropped him from the 40-man roster this offseason, he had no hard feelings.
"It surprised me, but it's baseball and I understand these situations," Cuthbert said. "You never know what can happen. They said they wanted me back.
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"So now, I'm just trying to get back on the big league team again."
That will be a challenge considering Hunter Dozier likely will get the most starts at third base, backed up by utility man Chris Owings.
Cuthbert's career seemed to take off in 2016 when he filled in for an injured Mike Moustakas and hit .274 with 12 home runs in 128 games. But that breakthrough season seems like a distant memory.
Cuthbert hit just .194 through 30 games in 2018 before back soreness sent him to the injured list. His season and his health never got on track again.
Eventually, as Cuthbert tried to rehab through the summer, it was determined he had a small fracture in his lower back.
"I didn't know it was fractured right away," Cuthbert said. "At the beginning, the MRI showed a lot of swelling. And I rested, and then tried to come back, and it was still hurting. Then we had another MRI and it showed a fracture."
Cuthbert's season was shut down in August to allow him to heal. He did come back, and he was able to play winter ball in Mexico, though.
"I feel 100 percent," he said. "It's fun to be back with these guys. I grew up with them. They're family to me."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.