The Kansas City Royals are moving right-hander Luke Hochevar from a starting role to the bullpen.
"I think it makes us a better team," Royals manager Ned Yost said Wednesday before a spring-training game against Seattle in Surprise, Ariz. "I think it makes us a stronger team. It gives us a better chance to win every day. With three weeks left, I want to get him acclimated to that role."
Among the candidates to replace Hochevar, 29, in the rotation are Bruce Chen and Luis Mendoza. The Royals' other starters are James Shields, Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie and Wade Davis.
Yost envisions using Hochevar as a late-inning setup man.
Hochevar, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft, has not lived up to expectations in the majors, posting a 38-59 record with an 5.39 ERA in 132 career games.
"I'm willing to take the ball in any position that I can to help the club," Hochevar said. "That's the bottom line. Whether it's starting or in relief, whatever it is, my role is not important. What's important is that when I take the ball, I'm helping the club."