Veteran infielder Jamey Carroll reached a personal milestone Sept. 27 while playing for the Royals when he collected his 1,000th career hit on a double to left field in a 6-1 victory at Chicago.
If there is a No. 1,001, it is likely to come in another uniform.
Carroll, 39, elected for free agency Friday by rejecting an outright assignment to the minors when the Royals moved him off their 40-man roster to clear space for left-hander Noel Arguelles’ return from the 60-day disabled list.
The Royals made the move in order to allow Arguelles, 23, to pitch in the Arizona Fall League as part of his recovery from a groin injury and, perhaps, a final chance to make an impression with club officials.
Carroll is a 12-year veteran whom the Royals obtained Aug. 11 from Minnesota for cash considerations, but he saw scant playing time after the Royals acquired Emilio Bonifacio just three days later from Toronto.
Carroll managed four hits in 36 at-bats over 14 games after joining the Royals and went three weeks without a hit before getting No. 1,000.
“I think there are more people who are relieved, more than me, who have been following it,” he said after the milestone. “I’m just thankful it happened before the season ended. It was going to be a long offseason, if it didn’t.”
Carroll reached the majors in 2002 with Montreal and also played for the Rockies, Indians, Dodgers and Twins before coming to the Royals. He has a .272 average and .349 on-base percentage in 1,276 career games.
Arguelles is a former Cuban defector who has battled injuries since signing a five-year deal with the Royals for $6.9 million in January 2010. He was a combined 1-9 this season with a 5.28 ERA while pitching for three clubs.
The Arizona Fall League might represent Arguelles’ final chance to position himself for a future with the club. First, the Royals must decide whether he continues to merit a spot on their 40-man roster.
And while he has one year remaining on his contract, Arguelles is out of options — which means he can’t be sent next year to the minors without clearing waivers.
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