SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Luke Hochevar got the nod as the Royals' Opening Day starter, but was scratched as the starter for Monday afternoon's Cactus League game against Cleveland, which was eventually canceled.
With rain predicted, the Royals first decided to use Hochevar in a morning Minor League game to beat the weather. But that plan was scrubbed when strong winds accompanied by sprinkles hit the area as the 10 a.m. MT game time approached.
There was still hope that Hochevar might start against the Indians as scheduled. But when rain increased and delayed the 1 p.m. MT start, the Royals sent the pitcher home for the day. Rookie left-hander Mike Montgomery was penciled in as Hochevar's replacement.
Hochevar was expected to get his work in on Tuesday, probably in an afternoon Minor League game, while left-hander Jeff Francis starts as scheduled in a night game against the Los Angeles Angels at Surprise Stadium.
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The change will not affect the plan to start Hochevar on March 31 in the Opening Day game against the Angels at Kauffman Stadium.
Angels up next for Royals after rainout
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals' Cactus League schedule is down to 31 games after rain washed out their game against the Cleveland Indians on Monday.
The Royals canceled the game about 45 minutes after the scheduled 3:05 p.m. CT start at Surprise Stadium. Rain began falling at mid-morning and soaked the field.
Now, the 14-8-1 Royals are off until 8:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday when they meet their Opening Day opponent, the Los Angeles Angels, in Surprise.
Left-hander Jeff Francis is the probable Royals starter against the Angels' Dan Haren.
Up next for the Indians: Grady Sizemore is scheduled to make his 2011 debut in center field when the Indians take on the D-backs in a 4:05 p.m. ET affair on Tuesday in Scottsdale. Sizemore, who had microfracture surgery on his left knee in June, made his spring-game debut as a designated hitter on Sunday. Indians Opening Day starter Fausto Carmona will get the nod against Arizona. Cleveland right-hander Josh Tomlin will pitch in a Minor League game at 2:15 p.m. ET at the team's complex. Tomlin -- a candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation -- was originally supposed to pitch in Monday's rainout.
Up next for the Royals: Francis will follow Luke Hochevar in the rotation on Tuesday, just as he will in the regular season. The difference is Hochevar, rained out of a start on Monday, will pitch in a Minor League game at 3:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday -- and Francis will work in the regular Cactus League game against the Los Angeles Angels at 8:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday at Surprise Stadium. Francis will probably be cautious about showing the Angels his best stuff because he'll be facing them in Kansas City in the second game of the regular season on April 1.
Mazzaro wins battle for KC's fifth rotation spot
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Sean O'Sullivan, a regular in the Royals' rotation in the second half of 2010, isn't all that disappointed that he'll be in the bullpen at the beginning of this season.
"For me, if I've got a Royals jersey on, goal accomplished," O'Sullivan said.
He lost the contest for the fifth starting spot in the Royals' rotation to Vin Mazzaro, a right-hander who last year was in the Oakland A's rotation for 18 starts.
"I'm definitely happy," Mazzaro said. "I'm excited and happy, and ready to go."
In the Cactus League, Mazzaro had a 5.84 ERA and one loss in four games. O'Sullivan was 1-0 with a 3.24 ERA in three games.
"The last two starts were pretty good. I'm feeling good, feeling healthy," Mazzaro said.
He'll be optioned out and spend more than two weeks on a Minor League roster -- probably with Triple-A Omaha -- and make two or three starts because the Royals won't need a fifth starter until April 16.
O'Sullivan pitched in relief six times for the Los Angeles Angels in two seasons, and appeared out of the 'pen once last year for the Royals.
"I did it a little bit for the Angels in 2009 and 2010, so that won't be a real drastic change for me. I know how to get loose," O'Sullivan said. "I don't look down on it as any kind of demotion. I get to put a uniform on, and be a contributor."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.