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Royals demote Nicky Lopez, Whit Merrifield to play second base

The Royals have optioned infielder Nicky Lopez to Triple-A Omaha, and Whit Merrifield will play second base, according to Alec Lewis of The Athletic. Lopez had a rough spring, hitting just .118 with 13 strikeouts in 39 plate appearances. He was trying to re-work his spring to hit for more contact after hitting just .228/.279/.307 in 594 plate appearances over the last two seasons. Lopez was a Gold Glove finalist last year at second base, but at the outset of this season the job will belong to Whit Merrifield.

With Merrifield at second base recently, Lopez hasn't played since Wednesday.