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Royals to 'piggy-back' pitchers in first spring games

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Ten pitchers -- four presumed starters and six expected to compete for the fifth job --- are scheduled to pitch in the Royals' first five Cactus League games.

"We're going to piggy-back 'em," manager Ned Yost said. "Nobody's used to starting right now, you build 'em back up. That's why you piggy-back 'em -- you're getting 10 guys ready to start."

It depends on the individual, but each starting pitcher usually throws two innings or the equivalent in his first Spring Training outing. The first four starters are expected to be James Shields, Jason Vargas, Jeremy Guthrie and Bruce Chen.

The first two pitchers assigned to each game so far: Thursday vs. Rangers, Chen and Danny Duffy; Friday at Rangers, Shields and Chris Dwyer; Saturday, March 1, vs. Padres, Vargas and Brad Penny; Sunday, March 2, at Cubs, Wade Davis and Yordano Ventura; Monday, March 3, at White Sox, Guthrie and Luke Hochevar.

Yost said the Royals have scheduled two "B" games against the Rangers on March 7 and 11 to provide additional slots for pitchers.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for
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