Sudden Friday changes rock KC Royals roster

Kansas City shakes up its makeup in Colorado.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

In the aftermath of subpar Thursday night performances, two KC Royals relievers, one a member of their big league bullpen and the other a prominent and promising prospect, find themselves moving in different directions today.

Carlos Hernández walked the first three Tampa Bay Rays he faced in the fifth inning, promptly let one score, and was charged with the two runs Will Smith subsequently allowed in the same frame. The effort was uncharacteristic for Hernández considering he'd been charged with only three runs in 11 games before Friday's contest.

And Pennington, whose excellent season at Triple-A Omaha has for weeks had fans clamoring for his promotion to Kansas City, couldn't protect the 5-4 lead he acquired to begin the eighth at Iowa — he surrendered a leadoff homer, a walk, and an RBI double, then took the loss when the Storm Chasers failed to come back in the ninth.

Now, Hernández is on his way back to Omaha for the third time this season (his first trip there was on an injury rehab assignment), while Pennington is joining the Royals and should be available when they open a three-game series at Colorado tonight.

Hernández was 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA with Kansas City, and Pennington 4-3, 2.35 in 32 games with Omaha, when the moves were made. Considering the inconsistencies the KC bullpen can't seem to shake, expect Pennington to throw his first major league pitch quite soon.

The Hernández-Pennington moves weren't the only ones the Royals made Friday.

The KC Royals have moved 3 other players

Just a day after sending him on an injury rehab assignment to Double-A Northwest Arkansas, Kansas City activated utility man Adam Frazier Friday afternoon; the move restored him to the 26-man active roster. Frazier, who went 0-for-4 for the Naturals against Springfield Thursday evening, returns with a .211/.297/.299 line, two home runs, and 10 RBI in 57 major league games this season.

Frazier had been on the Injured List with a right thumb sprain since June 24.

Heading back to Omaha to make room in Kansas City for Frazier is CJ Alexander. Called to the big leagues for the first time when Frazier went on the IL, Alexander played third base three times and DH'd once for the Royals; he went just 1-for-8, but collected his first big league hit Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium.

The club's other Friday move involved relief pitcher Dan Altavilla, who they transferred to the 60-day IL. He'd been on the 15-day List with the right oblique strain he suffered against Oakland June 19. He was 0-0 and had given up six runs in 3,2 innings when forced to the IL.

Moving Altavilla to the longer-term IL created 40-man roster space for Pennington.

Could there be another roster change coming?

Whether the Royals are done making roster moves — at least for now — remains to be seen. But one might be in the works involving pitcher Kris Bubic.

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