Phillips was optioned to Triple-A Omaha on Tuesday. Phillips was battling to break camp as the Royals' primary right fielder, but an unimpressive spring -- coupled with the fact that he has a minor-league option remaining -- prompted Kansas City to send him back to Triple-A to open the season. The 24-year-old hit just .167 with 12 strikeouts through 30 at-bats in camp, which mirrored his struggles at the big-league level last season (.187 batting average and 41.5 percent strikeout rate in 147 plate appearances). With the Royals in rebuild mode, Phillips should get a chance to prove himself again at some point in 2019, though he'll need to make more contact if he wants to make any sort of impact. Jorge Bonifacio was also returned to the minors Tuesday, meaning Brian Goodwin will likely open the season as the team's starting right fielder.
Phillips went 0-for-1 with two walks, a strikeout and a run scored in Sunday's win over the Indians. There was a minor scare Saturday when a 94-mph fastball from the Mariners' Yusei Kikuchi grazed Phillips' helmet, but he stayed in that game and got right back at it Sunday. Phillips is getting on base at a .444 clip through seven Cactus League games and is a plus on defense, but he has a minor-league option left and it's far from a lock that he will be the starter in right field to begin the regular season. Jorge Bonifacio and Brian Goodwin are in the mix as well.
Phillips is not in the lineup for Saturday's game against Cleveland, Joel Goldberg of FOX Sports Kansas City reports. Phillips remains on the bench for the second straight game and hasn't seen back-to-back starts since Sept. 20. The Royals continue to avoid over-exposing the 24-year-old in his return from a shoulder injury as Jorge Bonifacio gets another start in right field.
Phillips is out of the lineup for Friday's game against the Indians, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports. Phillips takes a seat after going 0-for-7 with four strikeouts in his last two starts. Jorge Bonifacio garners the start in right field as Salvador Perez serves as the Royals' designated hitter Friday.
Phillips is not in the lineup Wednesday against the Reds, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. The Royals have avoided overworking Phillips since he returned from a shoulder injury. He sits Wednesday for the fifth time in nine games. Jorge Bonifacio will start in right field.