Unable to hit much and plagued by a bad bullpen that surrendered all seven Arizona runs, the KC Royals lost 7-3 to the Diamondbacks Tuesday night. The same old things happening to them again didn’t make for much news.
But that doesn’t mean the club didn’t generate other news Tuesday. The Royals announced an interesting set of roster moves (Twitter link) before the game.
Most noteworthy was the transfer of rookie slugger Vinnie Pasquantino to the 10-day Injured List with shoulder discomfort, which came as no surprise after he left Monday afternoon’s game in obvious pain after a swing. How serious his injury might be remains to be seen, but the Royals will miss Pasquantino no matter how long he’s out. He struggled extensively after the club called him up in late June, but had raised his average to .263 (with a .350 OBP) by hitting .301 since the All-Star Break. He’s also clubbed eight home runs, good for third best on the team.
The Royals also called up Jonathan Heasley, who started Monday night and pitched one of the best games of his rocky 1-7 season before he began throwing up in the fourth and finally left with two outs in the fifth. He held Arizona scoreless and scattered four hits. The incident appeared to annoy Heasley more than anything; it’s happened to him before, but never in the majors.
The club also recalled backup catcher Sebastian Rivero. The move seems a bit odd—KC now has three catchers again, although MJ Melendez spends most of his time in left field while Salvador Perez does the bulk of the catching.
Kansas City also optioned reliever Collin Snider back to Omaha after recalling him Saturday and pitching him once. He’s 4-2 with a 7.25 ERA this season for the Royals.
After trades, four former KC Royals are struggling with their new teams.
Four players who became trade chips after starting the season in Kansas City aren’t faring well after midseason deals sent them packing.
First baseman Carlos Santana was first to go. The Royals dealt him to Seattle June 27 for pitchers Wyatt Mills and William Fleming, a move that immediately made room for Vinnie Pasquantino. Slashing .216/.349/.341 at the time, Santana still hasn’t found his stroke and is hitting .176 with seven homers and 20 RBIs since joining the Mariners.
Next to depart was left fielder Andrew Benintendi, KC’s lone 2022 All-Star whose .320 average, .387 OBP and good glove had made him a hot trade deadline target when the club sent him to the Yankees for Chandler Champlain, T.J. Sikkema and Beck Way July 27. Benintendi’s struggles at the plate aren’t much different in degree than his new club’s battles with the opposition—although he went 2-for-4 in New York’s 4-2 Tuesday win over the Mets, he has a subpar .241 average, and the Yankees are 9-15, since he arrived in The Big Apple.
The Royals finally let Whit Merrifield go with only minutes until the trade deadline passed, dealing him to Toronto for pitcher Max Castillo and infielder-outfielder Samad Taylor. Merrifield is actually batting 10 points higher—.250—than the .240 he managed for Kansas City, but even that improved clip pales in comparison to the .286 he hit in parts of seven Kansas City seasons.
Kansas City also traded backup catcher Cam Gallagher to San Diego for outfielder Brent Rooker shortly before the deadline expired, but he hasn’t played yet for the Padres, who assigned him to Triple-A El Paso where he’s 3-for-23 (.130) in six games.
This former KC Royals starter’s season might not be ending after all.
Remember this time last week, when it looked like Danny Duffy’s new discomfort was derailing his comeback from flexor troubles?
Now, Duffy appears to be bucking the odds. Instead of remaining on the shelf, where he’s been ever since Kansas City traded him to the Dodgers last season, Duffy has pitched twice on an Arizona Complex League rehabilitation assignment. He struck out two in a hitless inning Saturday, but gave up a run, hit a batter and walked two. He threw another scoreless inning Tuesday with a strikeout and gave up two hits.
The Royals close out their two-game series with Arizona tonight, then take Thursday off before hosting the Padres Friday, Saturday and Sunday.