Over the last two years, the Royals have graduated so many players to the big leagues, you’d think it’d be old hat so far.
But it never gets old seeing a player you’ve seen in the system for a while make the jump and get their first start, their first at bat, their first hit.
In the second game of Saturday’s double header, David Lough got that opportunity and made the most of it. Leading off and starting in right field, Lough faced Liam Hendriks and ripped an 0-2 pitch into right field for a single. Prior to the game, it was noted on CrownVision that this was Lough’s major league debut, and as the Twins got the ball back into the infield, the crowd rose to their feet in applause.
That’s one of the moments where it’s fun to be a baseball fan. Lough has toiled in the minors for years and looked like someone who might get a shot at various points. It just never happened. With the expansion of rosters this month, he was added to the big league club and got the first hit.
But he didn’t stop there.
After flying out to left, Lough’s third at bat started a two-out rally that led to two runs.
On Sunday, he got another start in right and leading off. His first at bat resulted in a popout to short but after a small rally by the Royals, he came up and hit a soft fly to right center and hustled his way to a double. Had Tony Abreu not been thrown out at second trying to take an extra base, Lough may have gotten his first career RBI. Lough added another single in the fifth and scored on a Billy Butler single.
For the weekend, Lough collected four hits in ten at bats, scored three times and made a couple of plays in the outfield. All of his hits were to the right side. As I write this, Lough has struck out in his first at bat against Yu Darvish of the Rangers – so there’s another first.
With Jarrod Dyson nursing a lat injury, Lough’s probably going to see a good chunk of time in the big leagues this month. Jeff Francoeur isn’t playing well (and hasn’t for most of the season) and Lough is someone the younger players have played with in the minors. That could bring some late-season energy to the team (if you buy into such things).
Lough’s not the kind of player who’ll make an immediate impact. He’s been solid in the minors, but he’s 26 years old and only now making his first few appearances. He’s not someone who’ll block Wil Myers when the Royals deem him ready, but he could be the new Mitch Maier – a quick outfielder who can step in in the case of injury or to spell someone in a slump. None of that can happen unless Lough puts on a good audition this month. So far he’s doing just that.