Ellis was one of two Rule 5 Draft picks for the Royals last December. Kansas City released the other, right-hander Sam McWilliams, prior to setting its Opening Day roster.
Ellis will go through waivers, and if he is not claimed within seven days (it was previously 10 days), he will be offered back to his original team, the Cardinals. The Royals acquired Ellis from the Rangers, who had selected him from the Cards with their first selection in December's Rule 5 Draft.
Kansas City manager Ned Yost said he was impressed with Ellis’ stuff.
“We wanted to try to extend it as much as we could with the timeline,” Yost said. “We liked his stuff. A little inconsistent with command, but we really liked his stuff. Had reports of a really good curveball from this winter. We wanted to give it every opportunity we could and give it a full look.”
Ellis made his Major League debut on Sunday and pitched a scoreless inning.
“The problem you have is you’re out of options with Rule 5 picks,” Yost said. “There is no flexibility. None whatsoever.”
Another factor in Ellis being designated for assignment is that the Royals remain high on right-hander Scott Barlow, who had a solid Spring Training and still has options remaining.