Duffy talks health and Spring Training role

SURPRISE, Ariz. - Left-hander Danny Duffy gave up a solo home run in his three innings during Sunday's 10-1 loss to the Rockies, but Royals manager Ned Yost liked his performance.

"I was most impressed that he gave up the home run on an 0-2 pitch, regained his composure and got right back on the attack," Yost said.

Duffy and right-hander Yordano Ventura are seen as the only two remaining contenders for the fifth rotation spot and each outing, from this point, becomes more important.

"It gets to be a little more evaluative," Yost said. "Is that a word?"

It is, but Yost is in no hurry to get to the end of the evaluative process.

"It's one of those things that you've kind of got to wait out," Yost said. "They start going blow-to-blow so you've got to kind of look at it. If somebody's haymakering the other guy, then you've got to look at that too."

Duffy has been sharing games with No. 4 starter Bruce Chen but, with more innings being allotted to the starting pitchers now, they'll likely be separated in the future. Chen started Sunday.

"Next time around we'll let Duffy start the 'A' game and Bruce will probably pitch in a Minor League game," Yost said.

Infante still nursing sore throwing shoulder

Outlook: Infante an undervalued multi-area producer

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Omar Infante was back in the Royals' lineup on Sunday, but again as the designated hitter, not the second baseman. He hasn't played second since the first Cactus League game 11 days ago.

Infante made four trips to the plate and had a single, a walk and scored a run in the Royals' 10-1 loss to the Rockies.

His right throwing shoulder has been sore, basically in the rotator cuff area.

"All I need to know is his arm's a little sore," manager Ned Yost said. "Is it serious? No. That's all I need to know."

Yost said such soreness was common years ago.

"Fifteen years ago, we didn't come to Spring Training near in the shape that these guys do," Yost said. "It used to be a usual occurrence but now these guys are in better shape. That's not to say Omar didn't come into camp in shape because he's in tip-top shape. But the back of his shoulder got sore from throwing too much, probably. It's not a major issue."

This was just the third game for Infante in the Royals' 11 so far. If this were the regular season, Yost doubted he'd miss any games.

"During the season, they inject that with cortisone or whatever they do and then, bam, you're back playing," he said.

Yost gives Mariot a mulligan after dismal outing

Yost likes bullpen power arms

SURPRISE, Ariz. - Right-handed pitching prospect Michael Mariot had a good 2013 season for Triple-A Omaha.

Mariot, 25, didn't allow a run in his final 14 regular-season outings, finished with 11 saves and was outstanding in the playoffs. But his ninth inning in the Royals' 10-1 loss to the Rockies on Sunday was a nightmare.

He gave up four runs on five straight hits, including a bases-clearing double, before finally getting a strikeout and a double-play ball.

Manager Ned Yost, grinning, explained how he tried to soften the blow afterward.

"I told him after his outing: 'Look, every pitcher on our staff I give a mulligan to at the beginning of Spring Training. Would you like to use yours after today?' " Yost said.

"He said, 'Yes sir, I surely would.'"

Roster cuts likely after Tuesday's split-squad games

Yost on Luke Hochevar's injury

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There are still 57 active players in the Royals' Major League camp but the first phase of full-scale cuts is at hand.

Or, as manager Ned Yost said: "It's looming."

The team might wait until after Tuesday because, in addition to a Cactus League game against the Dodgers, there's also a "B" game aganst the Rangers.

The camp opened with 60 players. The first move was an exchange on the 40-man roster as outfielder Jimmy Paredes was claimed off waivers from the Orioles and pitcher Maikel Cleto was designated for assignment and later claimed by the White Sox.

Two veteran non-roster pitchers have left. Guillermo Mota announced his retirement and Brad Penny was released.

Pitcher Luke Hochevar is still around but he's out for the season as he prepares for elbow surgery. He'll go on the disabled list at some point.