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Dozier, Cuthbert among Royals' options at 1B

MLB.com @FlannyMLB

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Wednesday marked the first official workout for Royals pitchers and catchers, yet on the minds of most camp observers is the potential position battle that looms at first base.

With free agent Eric Hosmer still unsigned and Brandon Moss having been traded to the A's this offseason, the Royals have one natural first baseman on the 40-man roster: 21-year-old Samir Duenez.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Wednesday marked the first official workout for Royals pitchers and catchers, yet on the minds of most camp observers is the potential position battle that looms at first base.

With free agent Eric Hosmer still unsigned and Brandon Moss having been traded to the A's this offseason, the Royals have one natural first baseman on the 40-man roster: 21-year-old Samir Duenez.

Royals manager Ned Yost didn't seem overly concerned on Wednesday by the lack of experience at the position.

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"We've got options," Yost said. "I can throw [Hunter Dozier] over there. I can throw [Whit Merrifield] over there, or [Ryan O'Hearn] or [Frank Schwindel]. I can throw [Cheslor Cuthbert] there, too."

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Dozier, 26, might be the most curious option. A first-round pick in the 2013 Draft, Dozier was selected as a shortstop before moving to third base in the Minors. Since then, he also has played corner outfield and first base.

Yost said Dozier's focus early in camp will be at first base.

"He'll take a lot of ground balls there," Yost said. "He's athletic. He can adjust to the outfield, to first base. We bounced him around a lot last year. But we're going to concentrate with him at first base early."

Dozier, ranked as the team's No. 3 prospect by MLB Pipeline, simply is eager for the opportunity to make the big league roster.

Video: Yost on Dozier's chances of winning starting 1B job

"Absolutely it's an opportunity," Dozier said. "Coming up in this organization with Moose [Mike Moustakas] and [Hosmer], two All-Stars at third and first, you don't have much opportunity. We don't know what will happen yet with those guys but yeah, it's an opportunity. I worked hard in the offseason knowing the situation."

Cuthbert, who seems likely to take over for Moustakas at third base, impressed the coaching staff with a trial run at first base last Spring Training. Cuthbert remembered to bring his first-base mitt to camp.

"I'm comfortable there," Cuthbert said. "I've played there in the Minors, too."

O'Hearn, 24, is the team's No. 14 prospect. He hit a combined 22 home runs for Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha in 2017.

Schwindel, 25, had his breakthrough season last year, hitting .350 at Northwest Arkansas with six home runs before being promoted to Omaha, where he hit .321 with 17 home runs and 30 doubles.

"We got some talented kids," Yost said. "I'm excited to see how they perform."

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

Kansas City Royals, Cheslor Cuthbert, Hunter Dozier, Ryan O'Hearn