NEW YORK — Left-hander Will Smith, one day after arriving from Class AAA Omaha, will make his major-league debut tonight when he starts for the Royals in their series finale against New York at Yankee Stadium.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Manager Ned Yost confirmed Smith as tonights starter after Tuesdays game. The move returns right-hander Luis Mendoza to the role of long reliever.
We want a left-hander against (the Yankees), Yost said, and we want to see what Will Smith can do. He developed a slider last year, and hes starting to put it all together. Hes got a lot of maturity and composure. We want to see what he can do.
Smith, 22, had never been to New York prior to joining the Royals prior to Tuesdays game from Omaha, where he was 1-3 with a 4.01 ERA in nine starts.
Im pretty excited, he said. I cant do anything different. Ive just got to go out there with the same game plan as I had in Omaha attack hitters, pitch down and get guys out. Same game. Bigger stadium.
Smiths promotion came after holding opponents to just three earned runs in 142/3 innings in two starts after adjusting his delivery on the recommendation of Omaha pitching coach Doug Henry.
Its helped me to get the ball down more, Smith said. That really started paying off for me. I had some bad luck down there, but theres nothing you can do about that.
The Royals cleared space for Smith by placing second baseman Chris Getz on the 15-day disabled list because of deep bruises in his left rib cage and shifting injured reliever Blake Wood from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.
Players on the 60-day list do not count against a clubs 40-man roster limit.
Getz aggravated a deep rib bruise on a slide at second base in Mondays 6-0 victory over the Yankees in the series opener. Wood has not pitched this season and is scheduled to undergo reconstructive-elbow surgery within the next two weeks.
Yost said he plans a straight platoon at second base with Irving Falu and Johnny Giavotella in Getzs absence; Falu, a switch-hitter, will start against right-handed pitchers, while Giavotella, a right-handed hitter, will start against lefties.
That will keep them both involved, Yost said.
Falu is batting .400 at 14 for 35 in nine games since his May 3 arrival from Omaha. Giavotella is five for 24 in eight games since his May 9 recall from Omaha.
The decision to put Getz on the disabled list followed a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam Tuesday that revealed deep bruises to two ribs and cartilage on his left side.
Theres no fracture, he said. A fracture would have been at least four weeks of absolutely nothing. Or if that cartilage would have torn, that would have been even more serious.
Getz suffered the injury May 16 in a collision at first base with Baltimores Chris Davis at Kauffman Stadium. In terms of rating the pain, Getz said, its twice as bad as it was after I originally did it. If I did it again, it would probably be worse than this. Its a bad cycle.
Plans call for Getz to do nothing for five days before gradually reintroducing baseball activities. If all goes well, he could depart after a few more days for a minor-league rehab assignment.
Infielder Yuniesky Betancourt said he will begin a rehab assignment Thursday at Northwest Arkansas. He hasnt played since May 1 because of a high right ankle sprain.
The Royals plan to use their open date Thursday to skip Nate Adcocks next turn through the rotation. Adcock started last Sunday against Arizona, when he allowed one run in five innings, and was slotted to pitch Saturday at Baltimore.
Bruce Chen will start Fridays series opener against the Orioles, and the open date permits Yost to use Felipe Paulino and Luke Hochevar the next two games on regular rest.
Front-office veteran Art Stewart and former first baseman Willie Aikens will represent the Royals at the Major League Baseball draft on June 4 at MLB Networks Studio 42 in Secaucus, N.J.
Stewart currently serves as a senior advisor to general manager Dayton Moore and, at 43 years, is the organizations longest-tenured employee. He is in his 60th year of professional baseball.
Aikens is in his second season as a coach for the organizations club in the Arizona Rookie League. He spent eight years in the majors and played for the Royals during 1980-83.