On Monday afternoon, the Kansas City Royals optioned outfielder Jorge Soler to Class AAA Omaha and recalled outfielder Billy Burns to replace him.
Burns, 27, is in the midst of his first full season as a member of the Royals after being traded to Kansas City from the Oakland Athletics on July 30, 2016.
Burns, who finished fifth in the rookie of the year voting in 2015, appeared in 24 games for the Royals in 2016, hitting .243 in 40 plate appearances.
Burns failed to make Kansas City’s 25-man roster out of spring training and has spent the bulk of the season in Omaha. He was called up on June 3 but was optioned to Omaha just four days later.
“It’s part of the job, and you get used to it,” Burns said. “It’s definitely difficult never knowing where you can be the next day. For instance, I just got the call and here I am today.
“It’s spur of the moment and you just have to be ready to pack up and leave.”
Burns, who can play all three outfield positions and poses a threat on the basepaths, figures to serve as a defensive replacement or pinch runner for the Royals.
“We can pinch run Billy, and with the heat the way that it is, if we need to give Lorenzo Cain a day off, we are covered in centerfield,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
With the Storm Chasers, Burns was hitting .259 with a .363 on-base percentage and 14 stolen bases. Prior to the call-up, he had walked 33 times.
“(Walking more) goes with tinkering with stuff at the plate and being able to see the ball a little deeper into the zone, hopefully I can continue to progress with that,” Burns said. “I think I can always improve and that’s definitely one of the things I’ve been working on in the minor leagues.”
During his rookie season in 2015, Burns hit .294 with 42 RBIs and 26 stolen bases with Oakland. For his career, he holds a .271 average, 55 RBIs and 46 stolen bases.
Burns joins a Royals club that is in the playoff hunt in the American League Central, and he will have an opportunity to provide a boost while with the team.
“It’s always exciting when you get to come back up here, especially with the team doing well and getting a chance to help the team win,” Burns said.