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Merrifield open to idea of super-utility role

Versatility gives Royals options if Mondesi wins 2B job
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals manager Ned Yost had suggested on Thursday that Raul Mondesi, perhaps thought to be ticketed for Triple-A Omaha once shortstop Alcides Escobar was re-signed to a one-year deal last month, could still win a job this spring at second base.

That seemed somewhat of a surprise because Whit Merrifield played 132 games at second base last season, and the coaching staff was impressed by Merrifield's defensive improvement there.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals manager Ned Yost had suggested on Thursday that Raul Mondesi, perhaps thought to be ticketed for Triple-A Omaha once shortstop Alcides Escobar was re-signed to a one-year deal last month, could still win a job this spring at second base.

That seemed somewhat of a surprise because Whit Merrifield played 132 games at second base last season, and the coaching staff was impressed by Merrifield's defensive improvement there.

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But Yost is maintaining that if Mondesi has a great camp and wins the job at second base (Royals general manager Dayton Moore has indicated Escobar was signed to play every day at shortstop), the Royals can then utilize Merrifield's versatility. Merrifield can play first base and third base as well as second base, plus all three outfield positions.

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So what does Merrifield think of possibly being used in a super-utility role?

"Whatever it takes to put our team in the best situation," Merrifield said. "I liked solidifying that spot at second base last year. Being there every day helped me get better. I thought I put together a good defensive season.

"I prided myself in being a top tier defensive second baseman. But whatever they want me to do. I know I have value [as a utility guy] for managers. I know that."

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Merrifield played most of his first two Minor League seasons in center field. And he also remembered to bring his first baseman's mitt to this year's camp.

"As long as I'm in the lineup," Merrifield said, "I'll play anywhere."

Gordon's father passes away

The father of Royals outfielder Alex Gordon passed away Wednesday, according to an obituary in the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star. Michael Gordon was 63.

A club official said Friday the team was aware of the situation and offered thoughts and prayers to Alex and his family. A celebration of Gordon's life is scheduled for Sunday in Lincoln. The family requested any contributions be made to the Alzheimer's Association.

Royals position players are scheduled for their first full workout Monday, but the Royals won't anticipate Alex to arrive in Arizona until after all the family arrangements have been attended to.

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

Kansas City Royals, Alex Gordon, Whit Merrifield