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Blanton's role with Royals still undetermined

Right-hander, 3-2 at Omaha, has Friday deadline for opt-out clause
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals are having continuing discussions with right-hander Joe Blanton, whose opt-out clause is Friday, about when he could end up on the Royals' 25-man roster.

Blanton's opt-out clause could force the Royals to let him go on Friday if he is not on the 25-man roster.

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals are having continuing discussions with right-hander Joe Blanton, whose opt-out clause is Friday, about when he could end up on the Royals' 25-man roster.

Blanton's opt-out clause could force the Royals to let him go on Friday if he is not on the 25-man roster.

But club officials believe Blanton would accept a similar role that Chris Young presently has with the Royals -- a spot starter but set as a long reliever first -- even though that role is not completely defined at the moment.

Blanton could become the eighth man in the bullpen in the next week or so, once Jason Vargas comes off the disabled list. That could eventually leave the Royals with a three-man bench once outfielder Alex Rios is heathy, with backup catcher Erik Kratz (now on the disabled list), infielder Christian Colon and outfielder Jarrod Dyson, but that would not necessarily be a hardship for manager Ned Yost, who rarely pinch-hits for his starters.

Blanton, 34, is 3-2 with a 3.89 ERA in six starts at Triple-A Omaha, and could be a valuable long man as well as insurance if Vargas or Jeremy Guthrie struggles in the lower part of the rotation.

Worth noting

• Royals prospect Bubba Starling, the Royals' No. 13 prospect according to MLB.com, officially has gone on the 15-day disabled list with a strained hamstring, and club officials expect him to miss three to four weeks.

Starling, who hit three home runs in a week at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, suffered the injury while running the bases Sunday. Starling was the fifth overall pick of the 2011 Draft.

• Prospect Raul Mondesi Jr., who has been out with a back injury, rehabbed in Arizona and should be back with Double-A Northwest Arkansas within the week.

• Left-hander Sean Manaea, a compensatory pick in the 2013 Draft, has been throwing live batting practice sessions while recovering from an upper-abdominal injury in the spring. He, too, could be back throwing in the Minor Leagues within the week, although he may start out at a level lower than Double-A.

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kansas City Royals