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McCarthy set up for new bullpen role in KC

Right-hander staying focused on earning 25-man roster spot
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- With last year's setup men of Ryan Buchter, Joakim Soria and Scott Alexander having been traded, the Royals will be searching for late-inning replacements this camp to take their spots.

Step up, right-hander Kevin McCarthy.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- With last year's setup men of Ryan Buchter, Joakim Soria and Scott Alexander having been traded, the Royals will be searching for late-inning replacements this camp to take their spots.

Step up, right-hander Kevin McCarthy.

McCarthy, 25, seems more than capable after a solid 2017 season in which his hard sinker helped him post a 3.20 ERA in 33 games.

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McCarthy, though, isn't making any assumptions that he even will make the 25-man roster.

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"I'm not trying to think about it that way," he said. "I know what I can do. But there are a lot of great arms in camp so I have to work for it."

McCarthy views 2017 as a valuable learning lesson.

"I think I got a tremendous amount of confidence just talking to veteran guys, learning from them," McCarthy said. "That's going to help this spring."

A welcome uneventful offseason for Flynn
Left-hander Brian Flynn knew the question was coming: So, Brian, did you do any work in your barn this offseason?

Royals fans surely recall Flynn's bizarre and scary offseason accident prior to last season's Spring Training when, while working on his barn in Oklahoma, he fell through the roof. He sustained a fractured rib and three non-displaced fractures in his back.

Flynn wound up missing over two months, including Spring Training, and his season never quite got off the ground. Flynn had a 5.40 ERA in 22 games at Triple-A Omaha.

Flynn reports no such mishaps this offseason.

"Just very uneventful," Flynn said. "The way I wanted it."

Flynn, 27, comes into this camp as one of the top left-handed candidates to land a spot in the bullpen. Flynn also has the advantage of being out of options.

"I still have to earn it," Flynn said. "I didn't exactly earn anything after last year.

"You always wait for that new guy to walk through that door down here. You never know."

Hahn gets first start
Right-hander Jesse Hahn, acquired in an offseason trade with the A's, will take the mound for the Royals in their Cactus League opener on Saturday in Surprise against the Dodgers. On Sunday in Mesa against the A's, right-hander Trevor Oaks, acquired from the Dodgers, will get the start.

Video: Billy Burns discusses his outfield versatility

Back on track
Royals outfielder Billy Burns, who played winter ball in Mexico, reports he got terribly sick from drinking the water there and proceeded to lose 10-12 pounds the first few days.

But Burns eventually got better and wound up gaining the weight back. Plus, he added a few pounds of muscle to his upper body during offseason workouts.

"I think I played a little light last year anyway," he said. "I feel really good."

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

Kansas City Royals, Kevin McCarthy