Royals claim utility infielder Jayson Nix, activate Scott Downs from disabled list

08/28/2014 3:25 PM

08/28/2014 5:34 PM

The Royals continue to stockpile assets as the playoffs approach, claiming utility infielder Jayson Nix off waivers from Pittsburgh. Nix, 31, batted .133 for the Pirates and the Phillies this season. He can play second base, third base and shortstop.

“This is just pure depth going into September,” manager Ned Yost said. “Infield depth.”

Nix played in 87 games for the Yankees in 2013. He has also had stints in Cleveland, Chicago, Toronto and Colorado. To make room for Nix on the 40-man roster, the team recalled reliever Michael Mariot and placed him on the 60-day disabled list.

The team expects Nix to arrive on Saturday. In order to claim Nix, he needs to be added to the active roster. The Royals will not announce a corresponding roster move until this weekend. One option would be optioning infielder Christian Colon to Class AA Northwest Arkansas, and then recalling Colon on Sept. 2 when he is eligible to return.

“Going into September, we were trying to figure out, we need some depth,” Yost said. “We’ve got Chris, who we love. He’s done a great job. But we need somebody else.”

Yost declined to speculate on the team’s plans. He did vouch for the health of second baseman Omar Infante, who has sat out the past few days with a sore shoulder. Asked if Infante was a candidate for the disabled list, Yost said, “Absolutely not.”

“Omar is still slated to go (Friday),” Yost said. “We’ll see how it goes. Might give him one more day. But Omar’s fine.”

Downs activated, Hendriks sent out

Liam Hendriks’ stay in the majors was not long. A day after silencing the Twins for one run in seven innings, the Royals optioned him to Class AA to make room for lefty reliever Scott Downs. The club wants Downs to face the left-handed hitters of Cleveland this week.

Hendriks impressed team officials with his spot start, in place of Yordano Ventura. He is expected to rejoin the team on Sept 2. as well. Yost projected him as an aid in middle relief.

“Kid comes in, he’s got good stuff, throws strikes,” Yost said. “And he’s not scared.” He added, “He’s going to be a benefit to us.”

The Royals acquired Hendriks, along with backup catcher Erik Kratz, from Toronto for Danny Valencia in July. Henriks struck out 35 batters in 35 innings for Class AAA Omaha this summer.

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4370 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @McCulloughStar.

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