Yost names Ventura as Royals' No. 3 starter
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals manager Ned Yost said after Monday night's game that he's seen enough this spring from right-hander Yordano Ventura.
Ventura has made the team, is in the rotation and will start in the third slot behind James Shields and Jason Vargas, Yost said in one fell swoop.
"We knew this was probably the way it was going to go," Yost said after Ventura pitched six innings of four-hit ball in a St. Patrick's Night, 6-0, greening of the Rangers at Surprise Stadium. "After tonight I think we've just seen enough. There's no reason not to announce this now."
Yost said he likes the way the rotation sets up for the opening of the regular season on March 31 in Detroit.
"We've been looking at all of our different scenarios," Yost said. "I think we've got a rotation now. He'll fit right into that No. 3 spot. It just fits our rotation better to have Shields, Vargy, Ventura -- with power -- followed by Jeremy Guthrie and Bruce Chen."
Yost said he had barely delivered the news to Ventura, the 22-year-old from the Dominican Republic, who was a non-roster invitee to last year's spring camp and has made all of three starts, all of them for the Royals, in the Major Leagues.
Asked if his six strikeouts in six innings on Monday night and 15 in 15 1/3 innings this spring was good enough to make the club, Ventura said it wasn't up to him.
"That's not my decision," Ventura said through Chen, interpreting. "My job is to go out there and pitch well every time."
The jovial Chen, who is of Chinese descent, was born and raised in Panama and is fluent in Spanish.
Ventura won a competition with left-hander Danny Duffy, who will now be given a chance to win a spot in the bullpen, Yost said.
"He's got competition from two or three guys in that spot," Yost said. "Let's see how it all plays out."
Ventura has allowed only 10 hits, three earned runs and walked a single batter in his four spring appearances, three of them starts. He was sharp right from the get-go on Monday night, whiffing the first two Texas batters -- Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus -- on an array of 98-mph four-seamers and 84-mph curves.
He was stellar, walking none on the evening, hitting one batter and being charged with a balk.
Yost said he had mentioned something to Ventura about the decision before he left the dugout, but wasn't sure if he made it all that clear. But the decision was clear to Yost.
"It doesn't do any good to drag this stuff on," Yost said. "Really, after an outing like tonight, after the outings he's had all spring, it would look foolish if you continued to hold your cards close to your chest. So I decided to just go ahead and do it now. Everybody in Kansas City saw it today. It's so obvious."