TORONTO — TORONTO The Royals cut ties Wednesday afternoon with outfielder Mitch Maier by designating the long-time backup for assignment as part of a series of roster moves prior to their game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Center.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Right-handers Louis Coleman and Nate Adcock returned from Class AAA in an effort to bolster the bullpen for the final five games before the All-Star break. The Royals cleared one space Tuesday night by optioning right-hander Vin Mazzaro to Omaha.
Maier, 30, saw his playing time dwindle over the last two seasons despite a versatility that permitted him to play all three outfield positions. He had just 64 at-bats this season, including only nine since May 27.
We talked about this possibility over the last few weeks in the outfield (before games), right fielder Jeff Francoeur said. I think, at the end of the day, its going to be better for his career. But its tough when it happens.
It sucks. Hes such a good guy, and hes been with the organization for 10 years. The first time is hard. I cried like a baby when I got traded from Atlanta (to the Mets in 2009).
The Royals chose to designate Maier rather than option either Jarrod Dyson or Jason Bourgeois to Omaha. Maier joined the organization as a first-round draft pick in 2003 and was one of the long-tenured players in the organization.
An increasingly crowded outfield also played a factor in the decision. Center fielder Lorenzo Cain is nearing a return from an extended stay on the disabled list, and top prospect Wil Myers is make a strong push for promotion.
Hes as perfect a teammate as youd want on your team, manager Ned Yost said. Hes always ready. Always prepared. He never complained. He just worked hard. Were just to the point where weve got so many young outfielders who we want to look at.
Gordo (Alex Gordon) and Frenchy (Francoeur) are going to play. We needed a right-handed bat in Bourgeois. Weve got Dyson. Cain is coming back soon, and weve got Wil Myers on the horizon.
And people might not understand this, but it wasnt fair to Mitch. Hes not playing, but he could be valuable to a National League team especially.
Maier reached the big leagues in 2006 and has a .248 average over 977 at-bats in 360 career games with 10 homers and 93 RBIs. He got 341 at-bats in 2009 and 373 in 2010 before dwindling last season to just 95.
The Royals now have two openings on their 40-man roster.
Coleman and Adcock have each shuttled this season between the Royals and Omaha. Coleman is 0-0 with a 4.91 ERA in 17 games, while Adcock is 0-3 with a 3.12 ERA in nine games.
We wanted to provide some protection for the guys we have here, Yost said, because theyre getting overused a bit. It just takes some pressure off having to use their arms all of the time, especially in games when youre down two, three or four runs.
Club officials announced the move with Mazzaro after he allowed six runs and 13 hits in Tuesdays 6-3 loss to the Blue Jays. He had been serving as a swingman but would likely be unavailable for the next several days after throwing 79 pitches.
Royals closer Jonathan Broxton nudged his way into fourth place Wednesday morning in the Final Vote balloting to determine the final member of the American League All-Star team.
Major League Baseball did not release specific vote totals for the online balloting, which concludes at 3 p.m. today Central time. Heres the link for those interested in voting: AllStarGame.com.
Texas right-hander Yu Darvish continues to lead an AL field that consists entirely of pitchers. Chicagos Jake Peavy and Baltimores Jason Hammel remained second and third, but Broxton pulled ahead of Los Angeles closer Ernesto Frieri for fourth place.
St. Louis third baseman David Freese became the National League leader after Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones, the previous leader, was added to the squad as a replacement for injured Los Angeles outfielder Matt Kemp.
Washington outfielder Bryce Harper was second in the NL voting, followed by Atlanta outfielder Michael Bourn and Arizona second baseman Aaron Hill.
Catcher Brayan Peña, a naturalized American citizen from Cuba, beamed at being greeted by his American-born teammates Happy Fourth of July when he arrived at the clubhouse.
The guys were teasing me because Im the only Spanish guy who is an American citizen, he said, but it was great for my teammates to recognize me as an American. Frenchy was the first guy to wish me a happy Fourth of July.
Then Broxton, (Greg) Holland, (Mike) Moustakas and (Eric) Hosmer all of the guys.
Peña defected from Cuba in 1999 while in Venezuela and became a citizen in 2009.
If youre born in America, he said, the Fourth of July is a tradition for you guys. But it means so much to me and guys who come from where I come from (Cuba). There is no democracy there. There is no freedom.
I really love this country. Im very appreciative of all the country has done for me and my family. I really feel in my heart, and Im not ashamed to say it, that Im proud to be an American.
Bourgeois held onto his roster spot, at least for a while, by having success against left-handed pitchers since his June 27 recall from Omaha. He went seven for 16 with two walks in six games through Tuesday.
Thats my job, he said. I take pride in it. I know thats going to be, pretty much, what I do for any team to hit left-handed pitching. So I just want to take advantage of any opportunity.
Outfielder Bubba Starling, the Royals first-round pick in 2011, had another big night Wednesday by going two for four with two walks, three runs, a triple and an RBI in short-season Burlingtons 17-2 romp over Bristol.
Starling is now batting .360 through six games of his pro career. Catcher Cameron Gallagher, the clubs second-round pick in 2011, went four for five with two homers.
It was 13 years ago Wednesday July 4, 1999 that Mike Sweeney drove in a run for the 13th consecutive game by hitting an RBI double in the fifth inning against Dave Burba in a 10-9 victory at Cleveland.
Sweeney later added an RBI walk in the ninth inning against Steve Reed for his 19th RBI in the 13-game span. Sweeneys streak ended two days later, which meant he fell one game shy of the American League record for consecutive games with an RBI.
Hall of Fame outfielder Tris Speaker had a 14-game streak in 1928 for the Philadelphia As.