Giavotella called up in host of roster moves
Coleman activated from disabled list; Brooks, Joseph sent down to Triple-A Omaha
KANSAS CITY -- Johnny Giavotella is getting another shot, although it might be a short one.
Giavotella, a longtime second-base prospect, was recalled from Triple-A Omaha on Wednesday and was in the starting lineup against the Rays, batting second in place of injured Omar Infante.
The Royals also activated relief pitcher Louis Coleman from the disabled list, and sent pitchers Aaron Brooks and Donnie Joseph to Omaha.
Giavotella was off to a good start with Omaha, batting .368. He could not be recalled until Wednesday after he'd been on the Storm Chasers' roster for 10 days, following his option out of Spring Training.
"We need some offense," manager Ned Yost said. "Johnny's defense has improved, and we're looking for somebody to swing the bat. Johnny's hitting .370 down there and this is just going to be a temporary little fix until Omar gets back, but we're looking for some offense."
This will be the fourth season that Giavotella, a .300-plus hitter in his Minor League career, will get a chance with the Royals. In his previous trials, he compiled a .240 average (96-for-400) in 113 games in 2011-13.
Coleman was on the disabled list with a jammed middle finger on his pitching hand. The right-hander was left in Arizona when the Royals broke camp to allow a bone bruise to heal. Last season, Coleman posted a 0.61 ERA and a 3-0 record in 27 relief appearances for Kansas City.
Brooks was promoted from Omaha last Saturday, replacing infielder Pedro Ciriaco on the roster to give the Royals a 12th pitcher. However, Brooks never entered his first Major League game.
Joseph was recalled on Monday, along with pitcher Michael Mariot, when pitchers Tim Collins and Francisley Bueno went on the disabled list. Joseph did not appear in a game. Mariot remains with the club, waiting to make his big league debut.
Wednesday's player shuffles reduced the Royals' pitching staff from 12 to 11, meaning that six pitchers will be staffing the bullpen. Yost intends for that to be temporary, perhaps coinciding with Giavotella's stay.
"It gives us some infield depth," Yost said. "It takes away from our pitching depth, which means we'll have to go with 11 pitchers again, but we have an off-day [Thursday], then three games in Minnesota and then another off-day [in Houston on Monday], so we feel like we can work around that."
With Joseph departing, it also leaves the Royals without a left-hander in the bullpen.
"I feel like I've got [Aaron] Crow, [Mark] Davis and [Kelvin] Herrera [who] can get lefties out. It's not a tremendous issue for me. It's more of a luxury having a lefty down there," Yost said.
Giavotella was put in the second lineup slot so Eric Hosmer, after one game in the two-hole, could move back into his usual No. 3 position. Giavotella is more suited to the No. 2 spot.
"Gio's swinging the bat good in Triple-A, he's a good hit-and-run guy, he's a good situational guy, he'll take some walks, he'll get on base for the big guys," Yost said.
Infante sustained a six-stitch cut and a sprain to his jaw when he was hit by Heath Bell's pitch in Monday night's 4-2 win over the Rays.
"Omar's a tough kid. We caught a break; it could've been a lot worse," Yost said before Wednesday's game.
"He's at the doctor right now getting rechecked, making sure everything is good. He took it easy yesterday and we'll see if we can't get him moving around a little bit today. But he was in good spirits, felt good and looked good yesterday."
There's a chance that Infante could return to the lineup by this weekend at Minnesota.
"Hopefully," Yost said. "We'll see."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.