KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' final exhibition game Monday night against their Triple-A affiliate in Omaha was rained out, and they now have three more days to resolve the final two spots in their bullpen as they prepare to set their 25-man Opening Day roster.But, their lineup is pretty much
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' final exhibition game Monday night against their Triple-A affiliate in Omaha was rained out, and they now have three more days to resolve the final two spots in their bullpen as they prepare to set their 25-man Opening Day roster.
But, their lineup is pretty much established heading into Thursday's Opening Day matchup with the White Sox at Kauffman Stadium at 3:15 p.m. CT.
Projected Opening Day lineup (vs. White Sox right-hander James Shields)
1. Jonathan Jay CF
2. Mike Moustakas 3B
3. Whit Merrifield 2B
4. Salvador Perez C
5. Lucas Duda 1B
6. Jorge Soler RF
7. Alex Gordon LF
8. Cheslor Cuthbert DH
9. Alcides Escobar SS
• Jay likely will get the leadoff role because of his .355 career OBP, and because manager Ned Yost sees Merrifield as a solid run-producer, as well as a capable table-setter.
• Kelvin Herrera will start the year again as the closer, though he lost that job last September. Yost believes Herrera will learn from his 2017 hiccups.
• The Royals won't have any straight platoon situations, but Yost will try to get Paulo Orlando in the lineup against certain tough lefties, thus giving Jay or Gordon a day off.
• All eyes will be on Danny Duffy's status this week. Duffy is scheduled to be the Opening Day starter, but left his final Spring Training start with shoulder tightness. He threw on the side Sunday, and reported he was fine and ready to go for the opener.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.