When I was at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday, I got to witness the Major League debut of Royals catcher Manny Pina. That same night, also in the Royals lineup for the first time, was newly acquired infielder Yamaico Navarro. He was impressive in his first start, the opportunity coming from Mike Moustakas‘ scheduled two-day break. He had two hits and made a couple of nice plays in the field. However, because baseball is a business and a fickle beast – you couldn’t find him at the K on Friday night. Like a puff of magician’s smoke, he’s gone.
It was the end of a wild week for Navarro.
Rewind to Friday, July 29th. The Boston Red Sox were at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago to take on the White Sox. Down 3-1 in the 8th inning, Terry Francona decides to pull 3B Drew Sutton for a pinch hitter – Mr. Navarro. Now, Navarro had started the previous two games and collected three hits, so having him ready to come off the bench in this situation seemed like a good one for the Sox. Navarro though, lined out to first to lead off the inning.
It was his last at bat as a member of the Red Sox.
On Sunday, Navarro joined the Royals in Cleveland and filled Aviles’ role with the team. According to Ned Yost, they wanted to use him when any of his infielders (except Hosmer) needed a break. A Shortstop by trade, Navarro fits the utility role and looked forward to getting an opportunity to get on the field more than he was in Boston – appearing in 36 games this season.
Monday was a day off for the Royals, so no doubt, it gave the 23 year old a chance to check out his new city. Perhaps he caught the screening of “Sixteen Candles” at the Kansas City Public Library.
On Tuesday, August 2nd, Navarro sat in his first game at Kauffman Stadium, with the regular Moustakas, Escobar, Getz, Hosmer infield.
Wednesday night though – his big debut. And while it was somewhat overshadowed by Manny Pina’s debut, he had a solid game and the Royals won. He proved that he was capable of filling a gap and giving someone a break.
On Thursday he was back in the lineup and again the Royals beat the Orioles. Navarro drove in a run on a ground out, then hit a big double in the 6th that plated two more runs. He was riding high. Contributing to wins on a young team.
This is the end of he second act. Where the main character seems to have it all before it is snatched away.
Late Thursday night, the Royals announced that they had purchased Johnny Giavotella‘s contract from Triple A Omaha. And while everyone when to sleep that night unsure of who would be heading up I-29 to Omaha, rumors spread that it would be the newly acquired infielder.
By Friday, the news became official. Yamaico was being sent down.
Baseball is a business, and it’s amazing to think that Navarro went from playing for the Red Sox – a team that is one game behind the Yankees for First Place in the East – to Kansas City – a team that was 16 games under .500 – to the Omaha Storm Chasers. It shows how quickly your world can be turned upside down.
The good news for Navarro is that the Royals have a plan for him. Ned Yost said on Friday that, “He’s 23 years old and needs to play. If he was 28 or 29 years old, it’d be a different story — we’d be more set in our mind to allow him to be a utility-type player,” manager Ned Yost said. “But he’s 23 and he’s got some upside tools that continually need to be developed. The only way you’re going to do that is by playing.”
It’s true – the Royals need to see exactly what they have in Yamaico Navarro. He will be given the opportunity to play every day and prove his worth. The Royals Infield has finally reached it’s long-anticipated perfect order, so Navarro could end up being trade bait in the off-season.
However the story turns out, it made for a heck of a week for short time Royal.