Right-hander Luke Hochevar, eternally inconsistent as a starter, is shifting, at least temporarily, to the Royals’ bullpen.

Manager Ned Yost announced the move Wednesday morning prior to a game against Seattle at Surprise Stadium.

“I think it makes us a better team,” Yost said. “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.”

The decision leaves Bruce Chen and Luis Mendoza as the primary competitors for the fifth spot in the rotation behind James Shields, Ervin Santana, Jeremy Guthrie and Wade Davis.

Plans call for Hochevar to pitch as a reliever in Friday’s game against San Diego at Surprise Stadium.

“I’m willing to take the ball in any position that I can to help the club,” he 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.”

Yost said he did not envision Hochevar, 29, as a long reliever but rather a power arm capable of pitching in the late innings as a setup man with Kelvin Herrera, Tim Collins and Aaron Crow for closer Greg Holland.

“Hoch is a guy who can go long,” Yost said, “but, right now, I think he’s a guy who can pitch in the seventh or eighth inning. That’s why we can get him acclimated in the last few weeks (of spring training).”

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