The Kansas City Royals plan to start four players acquired in the offseason – Coco Crisp, Mike Jacobs, Willie Bloomquist and Horacio Ramirez – in their exhibition opener.

The Kansas City Royals plan to start four players acquired in the offseason – Coco Crisp, Mike Jacobs, Willie Bloomquist and Horacio Ramirez – in their exhibition opener.
Ramirez, a left-hander who made 15 relief appearances for the Royals last season before being traded to the Chicago White Sox in August, will be the starting pitcher in Kansas City’s first spring training game today against the Texas Rangers.
Crisp will play center and bat leadoff, while Jacobs, who hit 32 home runs last year for the Florida Marlins, will be the designated hitter and bat cleanup.
Bloomquist has spent most of the early spring training drills taking ground balls at second base, but he will start in right field and bat ninth. Jose Guillen, Kansas City’s starting right fielder, has been slowed by an ingrown toenail and a sore shoulder.
David DeJesus, who mainly batted first last season while hitting .307, has moved from center to left and dropped to third in the batting order to accommodate Crisp, who hit .283 last season for Boston.
“Playing center (in Kauffman Stadium), I do think it wears you down from an energy level, especially over the course of a long season,” Hillman said. “David is always an energetic player. We anticipate and hopefully we’ll see his stamina be even better than what it was last year.”
Billy Butler, who started just 33 games at first base last year, will play that position and bat fifth.
“This time last year I heard, ’Billy Butler can never play first base. You don’t want to put that guy there.’ Those didn’t come from inside the organization, but outside the organization. He did a very respectable job in the time he was there last year,” Hillman said.
“He’s more agile this year. It’s helping his lateral movement. It’s also helping his feet with his exchange once he catches the ball. He turned a nice 3-6-3 double play in our intrasquad game.”
Butler said he has improved on defense.
“I’ve just got in better shape, worked a lot on my agility this offseason,” Butler said. “They told me that’s what I needed to do to come in and compete for the job. I feel like a more rounded player.”
Mark Teahen, who started at right, left, first and third last year, will start at second base, a position he has not played since college. Hillman said he wants to see Teahen play second base in games before he leaves next week to play for Canada in the World Baseball Classic.
“I’ll be real hesitant, even with the guys leaving for the WBC, to go four days in a row with them, just simply because it’s too early,” Hillman said.
Shortstop Mike Aviles, who batted .336 as a rookie, will bat second. Miguel Olivo, who has replaced John Buck as the starting catcher, will bat eighth, in front of Bloomquist.
Hillman anticipates Guillen will be able to play before leaving Sunday to join the Dominican Republic team for the WBC. Guillen said he won’t play in the WBC if he’s not healthy.
“We’re going to see how Jose feels with his swinging,” Hillman said. “I got another look the other day at the toe unbandaged, and I’ve been pretty impressed with what he’s been able to do with his running. Now, we’ve just got to see if we can get his at-bats going.”