The Kansas City Royals dropped a bombshell this week by announcing that James Shields would start the season opener away to the Chicago White Sox on the first day of April. Well, perhaps ‘bombshell’ is not quite the right word there. There was actually no reason whatsoever for Royals skipper Ned Yost to formally announce that Shields was the Opening Day starter, this was known since he was acquired in December.
More interesting, however, was the running order for the rest of the rotation. It was known that the winner of the battle for the last rotation spot (very likely to be Bruce Chen, but with Luis Mendoza still alive) would be the fifth starter, but how the middle three would be arranged was a mystery. There was much in it between Jeremy Guthrie, Ervin Santana and Wade Davis. Their efforts this spring did not actually clarify matters much as they all performed well as the Royals set about winning with abandon.
As it is, the Royals have gone with Santana at two, Guthrie at three and Davis at four. This will mean that those who got tickets to see the Royals home opener against the Minnesota Twins on April 8 will get to see Santana take the mound. The off days in April will present a minor problem and Yost has said that the winner of the fifth spot of the rotation will be skipped sometime in the month to keep the rest on a relatively level schedule.
This all but settles the Royals questions in camp, all that is left now is to see who exactly gets that fifth spot.