Yordano Ventura named Royals’ Opening Day starter

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Royals manager Ned Yost told Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star on Wednesday evening that 23-year-old right-hander Yordano Ventura will start for the club on Opening Day, April 10 against the White Sox at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium.

Ventura will be followed in the Royals’ starting rotation by Danny Duffy, Edinson Volquez, Jason Vargas, and Jeremy Guthrie — in that order.

Yost said the way Ventura pitched in Game 6 of the 2014 World Series gave the entire team confidence that he is ready to be the leader of a pitching staff that lost James Shields this winter to free agency.

Ventura, one of the hardest throwers in baseball, put up a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings last year.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.