Kyle Zimmer might contribute to Kansas City's pitching staff at some point this season, but it won't be right away. The Royals optioned him to Double-A Northwest Arkansas on Wednesday.
Zimmer, the Royals' first-round pick (fifth overall) in the 2012 draft, has outstanding stuff and is considered the organization's top pitching prospect. But the right-hander has endured a number of injuries in his short career, including arm pain last spring that limited him to 5 2/3 minor league innings before undergoing surgery in August for thoracic outlet syndrome.
So, Zimmer, 25, will open the season with the Naturals.
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Another top prospect, pitcher Josh Staumont, was reassigned to minor league camp. Staumont, a 23-year-old right-hander, has moved rapidly through the Kansas City system after starting last season at Class-A Wilmington.
The Royals reassigned seven other players to minor league camp: pitchers Jonathan Dziedzic, Luke Farrell and Eric Skoglund; catchers Xavier Fernandez and Chase Vallot, and outfielder Alfredo Escalera and infielder Corey Toups.
The Royals now have 55 active players in major league camp, which does not include left-hander Brian Flynn, who is on the 60-day disabled list. Of those 55 players, 16 are non-roster invitees.