J.C. Gutierrez makes Royals bullpen

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- J.C. Gutierrez has earned the final spot in the Kansas City Royals' bullpen.

Kansas City optioned right-hander Louis Coleman to Triple-A Omaha and assigned Dan Wheeler to its minor league camp on Thursday.

Gutierrez had elbow ligament-replacement surgery in September 2011 and pitched only 20 2/3 innings last year in the minors. He had 24 saves for Arizona in 2009-10.

Wheeler, who has spent nine years in the majors with Tampa Bay, the Mets, Houston, Boston and Cleveland, and Ramirez will open the season with Omaha in the Pacific Coast League.

Kansas City also assigned first baseman Max Ramirez to minor league camp.

The Royals still must decide whether to keep George Kottaras or Brett Hayes as their backup catcher. Both are out of options and would have to clear waivers to be sent to the minors.