Royals Send Top Picks To Minors

Luke Hochevar, the top pick in last year's draft, was among 15 players cast down to the minors by the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday.

Hochevar, 23, pitched two scoreless innings and allowed one hit in his only spring training outing before being optioned to AA-Wichita for some minor league seasoning. He could end up in Kansas City's rotation before the season ends, however.

The Royals also optioned outfielder Mitch Maier, a 2003 first-round pick, to AAA Omaha, left-hander Danny Christensen to Wichita, and right-hander Carlos Rosa to Class-A Wilmington, along with eleven other players that need not be named.

In other Royals news, righty reliever Joe Nelson, who converted 9-of-10 saves last season, returned to Kansas City on Tuesday and is scheduled to have shoulder surgery Wednesday. Nelson went 1-1 with a 4.43 ERA in 2006, striking out 44 batters in 44.2 innings.

[Sports Illustrated] | [MiLB]