Ned Yost walked across the Royals clubhouse, high-fived Yordano Ventura and told him the worst-kept secret in camp was finally ready for public consumption.

“I told them,” Yost said. “You’re free. You can talk.”

After four outstanding performances in the Cactus League, Ventura won the final spot in the team’s rotation, besting Danny Duffy in the competition. He will start the third game of the season, on April 3 in Detroit. The team hopes his flame-throwing right arm can provide them with 200 innings this season.

Ventura entered this camp as the favorite for the job. Luke Hochevar exited because of Tommy John surgery. Wade Davis shifted to the bullpen to replace Hochevar. And Ventura out-classed Duffy with each passing performance.

Ventura left little doubt on Monday. He struck out six Rangers in six scoreless innings of a 6-0 victory at Surprise Stadium. He allowed four singles and walked none. He survived one hiccup, when he hit a batter and balked in the fourth, with ease.

He utilized the weapons that give the Royals such hope for his future: A fastball blazing past the 100-mph barrier, a devastating curveball and a burgeoning change-up. The combination left Texas flailing and prompted their manager, Ron Washington, to ask “Where did they get that guy?”

“It doesn’t do any good to drag this stuff on,” Yost said. “Really, after an outing like tonight, and after outings like he’s had all spring, you look foolish if you try to continue to hold your cards close to your chest.”

For outside observers, the decision appeared obvious after Ventura’s last performance, when he rolled the Athletics with six strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. Duffy combusted in his previous outing, which only heightened the difference between the two.