SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals have a center fielder who used to be a Major League pitcher in Rick Ankiel. Now they have a center fielder who wants to become a Major League pitcher in Brian Anderson.

"Brian Anderson has elected to become a pitcher," manager Trey Hillman said on Thursday. "I'm not sure how that process is going to go, but it's got to start at the very bottom, so we're kind of mulling through that right now."

Anderson, 28 and right-handed, was signed as a free-agent outfielder last Dec. 23 by the Royals. He had split the 2009 season between the Chicago White Sox, his original club, and the Boston Red Sox.

After he was signed, the Royals added outfielders Scott Podsednik and then Ankiel, pushing Anderson back in the ranks. He had a good Spring Training, batting .341 in 17 games, but was overshadowed in competition for a backup job by Mitch Maier (.444).

In five Major League seasons, Anderson has a .227 average with 22 homers and 80 RBIs in 355 games.

The Royals, by the way, have already had one Brian Anderson pitch for them. He was a left-hander who was with Kansas City in 2003-05.

Meche pitches without stiffness

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals right-hander Gil Meche threw in a Minor League game on Thursday and came away with no stiffness in his right shoulder.

"I feel strong, feel good, loose; my velocity is coming," Meche said.

Meche threw a scare into the Royals on March 22 when he left a game against the Chicago White Sox after three innings because of shoulder tightness. Since then he's thrown twice with no problems.

On Thursday, he faced Minor Leaguers from the Seattle Mariners and worked five controlled innings, two of which were shortened. He threw 69 pitches, 36 for strikes, for a total 3 2/3 innings in which he gave up one run on four hits and three walks.

"I felt pretty loose and overall I was pleased," Meche said. "I threw almost 70 pitches and worked the count different ways. I threw some good pitches."

Originally counted on to start the season's second game against the Detroit Tigers next Wednesday, he's been moved back in the rotation. He'll stay behind in Arizona and is likely to pitch on Tuesday in another Minor League game. If all goes well, it's possible that he'll start on April 11 against the Boston Red Sox at Kauffman Stadium.

"If everything goes well, we'll see when I come back," he said.

If Meche is not able to return right away, it could open a start for Kyle Farnsworth, whose attempt to join the rotation was sidetracked when Kyle Davies was confirmed as the No. 5 starter.

Meche, who said he didn't tire at all on Thursday, expects to throw about 85 pitches on Tuesday.

He saw some very encouraging signs in his latest outing.

"My changeup was really good, it was impressing me," Meche said. "I had a great curveball in the bullpen, but I didn't have quite the snap on it [in the game]."

Manager Trey Hillman got this report: "Free and easy. Fastball command was sporadic. Curveball wasn't biting real good today, but the arm action, how it got out, was healthy. All systems go."

Davies, who now is in line to pitch on April 9 against the Red Sox, also will stay behind in Arizona and pitch Sunday.

Royals move closer to final roster

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Few official moves were made by the Royals on Thursday, but manager Trey Hillman is moving closer to finalizing his 25-man roster.

Hillman said that players who have been informed they likely won't be on the Opening Day roster include pitchers Brad Thompson and Matt Herges; outfielders Brian Anderson, Scott Thorman and Buck Coats; catchers Edwin Bellorin and Vance Wilson, and infielder Irving Falu.

Those players remained on the Spring Training roster, but after Thursday's game, pitchers Josh Rupe and Jorge Campillo were reassigned to the Minor League camp. More moves will be announced during the Royals' stop in Texas for two games against the Rangers on Friday and Saturday.

"There are still probably five guys still in the mix to get the final 25 roster spots," Hillman said. "I've met with those guys and told them it's going to come down to the wire."

Presumably those still in the running for the final roster include pitchers Dusty Hughes, Anthony Lerew and John Parrish and infielders Mike Aviles and Wilson Betemit.

Thompson also could figure in the picture if the Royals elect to put Gil Meche on the disabled list for the first few days of the season.

"I have to say his name with an asterisk because we know what Brad Thompson can do and has the ability to do the past five years," Hillman said, referring to Thompson's career with the St. Louis Cardinals. "It's still possible he could get back in the mix."

Herges, who turned 40 on Thursday, waived the out clause in his contract and apparently will take a Triple-A spot.

"We do not, at this time, have a Major League job for him, but we do have a job for him," Hillman said.

Wilson, who caught for the New York Mets and Detroit Tigers, decided to retire. He was coming back from a second Tommy John surgery.

"We didn't have a position for him and he's elected retirement," Hillman said. "Wonderful guy, very professional, did everything that he could."

Hillman had announced earlier that pitcher Bruce Chen would be going to Triple-A Omaha.

Fields a DL candidate for Opening Day

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Third baseman Josh Fields is likely to start the season on the disabled list, Royals manager Trey Hillman indicated Thursday.

Fields has a hip injury and missed the last five games in Arizona.

"Josh is not able to go on the field right now. We've got to get him healthy," Hillman said.

That further thins the possibilities at third base. Alex Gordon will start the season on the disabled list with a broken right thumb. Alberto Callaspo is out with a sore right side that has kept him from batting left-handed, and it's uncertain if he'll be ready for Monday's opener against Detroit.

Scott Thorman will start the season in Triple-A, so that leaves Mike Aviles, Wilson Betemit and Willie Bloomquist as third-base possibilities.

Aviles, coming back from Tommy John surgery, started at third base on Thursday against the D-backs but is not assured of a roster spot.

"He and Wilson Betemit are probably going to come down to the wire," Hillman said.

Bloomquist, who has recovered nicely from double knee surgery last October, could also man third base. He was hitting .400 and stole a base in Wednesday's game.

"Don't leave Willie out," Hillman said.

Aviles, who went into Thursday with a .489 average, has made progress with his throwing arm strength.

"I don't really have any doubts, especially after having a meeting with Mikey the other day," Hillman said. "He said mentally and physically he was really good."

Betemit had a .298 average but also had made four errors.