Royals' Paulino headed to the disabled list

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Felipe Paulino throws a pitch during a spring training baseball game Tuesday, March 20, 2012 in Surprise, Ariz.

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Felipe Paulino throws a pitch during a spring training baseball game Tuesday, March 20, 2012 in Surprise, Ariz. Photo by The Associated Press.

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Royals right-hander Felipe Paulino will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list with a sore elbow.

“Paulino has been dealing with some forearm stiffness on-and-off all spring,” manager Ned Yost said Wednesday. “He dealt with it some last year. It’s not anything that’s serious, but we’re just running out of time. If it was a regular-season scenario, it would probably be a situation where he would miss one start. But we don’t have the luxury right now.”

Paulino was diagnosed with a right forearm flexor pronator strain.

Paulino was competing for a rotation spot, but has been erratic in spring training. He’d allowed 10 runs and 13 hits in 92⁄3 innings in his last three appearances.

“We’re talking about shutting him down four or five days and get him back in his throwing program,” Yost said. “It just doesn’t make any sense to try to push that especially where we are in terms of spring training. Once you get stiff, you can start to run into the danger of getting ligament damage. We want to stay away from that.”

Paulino went 4-6 with a 4.11 ERA in 21 games after the Royals acquired him from Colorado.

With Paulino out, left-hander Danny Duffy and right-hander Luis Mendoza, who is 4-0 with a 0.54 ERA this spring, will fill the final two slots in the rotation.

The Royals will likely start the season with five players on the disabled list, including closer Joakim Soria and catcher Salvador Perez.

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