SURPRISE, Ariz. -- When camp opened, Hunter Dozier appeared to have at least a fair chance at becoming the Opening Day first baseman.Of course, that all changed when the Royals signed veteran Lucas Duda. And on Monday, Dozier, ranked as the club's No. 7 prospect by MLB Pipeline, was optioned
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- When camp opened, Hunter Dozier appeared to have at least a fair chance at becoming the Opening Day first baseman.
Of course, that all changed when the Royals signed veteran Lucas Duda. And on Monday, Dozier, ranked as the club's No. 7 prospect by MLB Pipeline, was optioned to Triple-A Omaha, which means he'll spend the rest of camp playing in Minor League games.
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But the Royals still see Dozier as a potential future first baseman.
"I saw him get better at first base," manager Ned Yost said. "It's important that he get down to the Minor League side and get more playing time and experience.
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"He'll play mostly first base [at Omaha]. I would say primarily first base, right field and third base, in that order."
Also optioned to Omaha was right-hander Kyle Zimmer, who has battled several injuries and surgeries over his Minor League career.
"He has to get over this hump," Yost said. "He feels pretty confident. He threw really, really good in live sessions. Didn't feel as great in the game [situation]."
Almonte making a move
Yost and his coaching staff have been very impressed with right-hander Miguel Almonte, the club's No. 12 prospect, this spring. Almonte has thrown seven scoreless innings over four outings with six strikeouts and zero walks.
"I like the fact he battled back from last year when he never got on track, and he has had a great spring," Yost said. "He's pitching with a lot of confidence. He's looking like the guy we always thought he could be."
Duffy gives up seven
Left-hander Danny Duffy made his third start this spring in the Royals' 9-8 loss to the A's on Tuesday. Duffy gave up seven hits and seven runs over 3 2/3 innings. He allowed three home runs, two of them to shortstop Jorge Mateo.
"I think he swung at every pitch but one," Duffy said. "If it's the regular season, you probably back him off a little. But you don't want to see anyone get hurt down here."
Non-roster invite Ryan Goins and Ramon Torres continue to battle for the utility infielder role. Goins went 2-for-3 on Tuesday, raising his spring average to .429. Torres went 1-for-2 and is hitting .400. Right-hander Kevin McCarthy continues to make a case for the setup role. He pitched a scoreless inning and lowered his ERA to 3.68.
Outfielder Paulo Orlando remains out for a few more days because of a grade one hamstring strain that occurred while lunging for a line drive on Saturday.
Infielder Raul Mondesi continues on his no-throw program for another day or two because of shoulder impingement. Mondesi was the DH on Tuesday for the second straight day and homered.
Listen live on Gameday Audio as right-hander Ian Kennedy makes his third spring start at 3:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday when the Royals take on the Cubs at Surprise Stadium. Left-hander Brian Flynn and right-hander Brad Keller also are expected to pitch. Flynn is out of options and Keller is a Rule 5 Draft acquisition.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.