Eric Hosmer will lead the cavalry of call-ups from Class AAA Omaha on Monday, as he returns from the disabled list to return to the Royals. Joining him will be a raft of players who may be able to aid the team down the stretch: Outfielder Carlos Peguero, catcher Francisco Pena, outfielder Lane Adams, infielder Johnny Giavotella and reliever Casey Coleman.
The club began announcing call-ups on Sunday. The highest-profile one is Brandon Finnegan, a southpaw selected at No. 17 in June’s draft. To make room for Finnegan and Peguero on the 40-man roster, the club designated for assignment pitchers Chris Dwyer and Blake Wood. The team still believes they have a route to add either Finnegan or Peguero to the postseason roster, if they should so choose.
The team opted not to cut ties with struggling reliever Scott Downs, who wore the loss on Saturday. Dwyer, a talented left-hander, was once considered one of the organization’s best pitching prospects. But he experienced a recurrence of the thyroid condition that slowed him in 2012, and struggled after being converted to the bullpen.
Four more players will arrive on Tuesday. Stashed in Class AA Northwest Arkansas right now are infielder Christian Colon, reliever Aaron Crow, outfielder Terrance Gore and reliever Liam Hendriks. The club added Gore to the 40-man roster on Sunday.
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Hosmer figures to play the largest role in the club’s September. He missed a month due to a stress fracture in his right hand. He completed a hitting program last week and had 11 plate appearances for Omaha. He went 3-for-10 with a walkoff single on Saturday and a homer on Sunday.
But his glove may be the most pivotal piece of his arsenal. The Royals were placed on the verge of a loss, an outcome suspended until Sept. 22, when Billy Butler flubbed a two-out grounder on Sunday night. Greg Holland gave up a subsequent two-run double to block a tie.
Before Jon Lester hit him with a pitch on July 20, Hosmer appeared on the verge of a revival. He batted .366 with a .960 on-base plus slugging percentage in July. Even so, his season-long numbers are still a disappointment. His .689 OPS is 54 points below his career average.
Both Peguero and Pena possess power off the bench. Peguero boomed 30 home runs, including 15 in August. Pena hit 27 in his first year in the Royals organization. Giavotella punched up an .813 OPS for the Storm Chasers. Coleman finished with a 2.15 ERA for Omaha in 67 innings.