Right-hander Miguel Almonte is back on the Royals roster. Again.
The Royals recalled Almonte from Class AAA Omaha for the fourth time this season to take the bullpen spot of right-hander Neftali Feliz, who was placed on the Paternity List on Friday afternoon.
Almonte, 24, has appeared in two games this season, allowing five hits and three runs in two innings for a 13.50 ERA. He’s walked two with zero strikeouts.
Although his major-league numbers haven’t been stunning, Royals brass has been impressed by Almonte’s ability to bounce back from a 2016 season in which he put together a 5.92 ERA over 76 minor-league innings.
“He’s always had power to those pitches, but he’s in the strike zone much more consistently,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. “He’s just getting the necessary experience. ... He’s just pitching with a lot more conviction (this year). That’s the main separator. It’s a lot more conviction with delivering the baseball.”
At the start of the season, Almonte was at Class AA Northwest Arkansas where he pitched well (1.86 ERA in 29 innings) and twice was called up to the Royals. The first time was May 5 when starter Ian Kennedy was placed on the disabled list. The next day, Almonte was optioned back to Northwest Arkansas when outfielder Jorge Soler came off the disabled list.
On May 21, Almonte was recalled again ahead of the Royals’ doubleheader against the Twins. He returned to Omaha on May 29, then missed some time on the disabled list with a minor shoulder ache.
The Royals recalled Almonte from the Storm Chasers on July 1 and was optioned back to Omaha on July 4.
At Omaha, Almonte has yet to allow a run in six games (including one start), which covers 11 2/3 innings. He has allowed 10 hits, four walks and collected 12 strikeouts for the Storm Chasers.
Feliz signed with the Royals on June 23, four days after becoming a free agent when he was designated for assignment by the Milwaukee Brewers. In seven games for the Royals, he has a 2.57 ERA with six strikeouts and two walks.
Feliz, who has a daughter named Lucia, expected his child to be born during the All-Star break.