Battling a sore oblique muscle, outfielder Terrance Gore has not appeared in a game since July 15. He hasn’t swung a bat in two weeks. His daily workouts, he said, have been limited to running, a throwing program and treatment on his left oblique.
On Friday afternoon, however, Gore was recalled to the major leagues and joined the Royals here at Fenway Park. The simple reason: The oblique issue does not limit his running or his speed, the skill that has birthed his part-time career in the big leagues.
“It doesn’t affect my running at all,” Gore said.
Gore said Friday that he expected to start swinging a bat in the next day or two. No matter, though, because he is here to do what he normally does: offer game-changing speed off the bench in the late innings.
“Speed,” said Royals manager Ned Yost.
The latest roster addition came one day after the Royals optioned reliever Kevin McCarthy to Class AAA Omaha. McCarthy, 25, posted a 2.14 ERA in 21 innings across 16 appearances. Yet McCarthy was deemed expendable after the club acquired relievers Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter from the San Diego Padres on Monday in a six-player trade.
For the last week, the Royals maintained a nine-man bullpen following a taxing stretch for the relief corps. But a day off on Thursday allowed Yost to reset his bullpen and move forward with a three-man bench, featuring Gore, catcher Drew Butera and infielder Ramon Torres.
Yost said the club nearly recalled Gore two weeks ago to offer more speed in the late innings. But then the oblique issue surfaced and the team called up outfielder Billy Burns instead.
Before the injury, Gore was batting .231 with a .290 on-base percentage and 17 stolen bases in 19 attempts while splitting time between Class AA Northwest Arkansas and Class AAA Omaha. The pint-sized outfielder also clubbed the first regular-season home run of his professional career on June 10 in Omaha. The moment delighted his teammates and it also startled him, Gore said, reflecting on Friday afternoon.
“I thought I was dreaming when I was rounding second,” he said. “I’m not kidding. I was like: ‘Where am I? This is not real.’ ”
On Friday, Gore sought to clarify one thing. The homer, hit off New Orleans’ Scott Copeland at Werner Park in Omaha, was not the first of his professional career. He also hit one for Burlington during Rookie ball. But that homer came in the playoffs, so it did not appear in his career stats.
“It felt good to finally get that goose egg out of the column,” Gore said. “Took me a long enough, because I hit a home run in Burlington my Rookie ball year, but it was during the playoffs, so it didn’t count. Nobody knows that.”
Cuthbert, Orlando should return to rehab stints soon
Third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert and outfielder Paulo Orlando are expected to re-start their minor-league rehab assignments soon following a pair of setbacks, Yost said on Friday.
Cuthbert, who originally went on the disabled list for a sprained wrist, fouled a ball off his foot on Tuesday while playing for Class AAA Omaha. Orlando, meanwhile, experienced some complications while returning from a fractured shin, sustained after fouling a pitch off his leg in Omaha.
Position players are allowed to stay on a minor-league rehab assignment for 20 days. But Cuthbert and Orlando will each have their clocks reset when they return to the minor leagues. For Cuthbert, who remains out of options and must stay on the 25-man roster when not on the disabled list, the clock reset could prove beneficial. For now, he can continue to play every day at Omaha before returning to Kansas City when his rehab assignment is over.