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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Royals' Omar Infante expected to start Opening Day

By on 3/29/2014 06:30:00 PM

After a few days of speculation, it appears more likely that the Kansas City Royals will have their new second baseman in the lineup on Opening Day. The Kansas City Star's Andy McCullough tweeted Saturday afternoon that Omar Infante will likely start when the Royals play the Detroit Tigers in Detroit on Monday, March 31.

As recently as Friday night, Dick Kaegel of speculated that Infante would start the season on the disabled list because of elbow discomfort. Infante played in only eight Spring Training games, and he asked his manager, Ned Yost, to allow him to stay in Surprise, Arizona, until the team travels to Detroit. Yost agreed as he explained:
"He wanted to stay back in the warmer weather and get more at-bats and more extensive ground ball work so we left him there. He feels pretty good when he's throwing, but he still feels it when he swings."
The fact that Yost kept Pedro Ciriaco on the active roster could indicate that Infante may not be 100%. Ciriaco will serve as the backup second baseman. He is out of options, so that could have also heavily figured into his making the team.

Infante hit .318 with 10 HR and 51 RBI in 118 games for the Detroit Tigers last year, the best season he has had in his 12-year career. He is a career .981 fielder at second base, and he can also play shortstop, third base, and all three outfield positions. For these reasons, the Royals offered the 31-year-old Infante a $22.25-million contract plus a $10-million team option for 2018.

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