Royals call up pitcher Will Smith from Omaha as Luke Hochevar leaves for baby’s birth

08/29/2013 5:58 PM

08/29/2013 5:58 PM

The Royals recalled left-handed pitcher Will Smith from Class AAA Omaha for the seventh time this season.

He took reliever Luke Hochevar’s spot on the roster after Hochevar’s wife, Ashley, went into labor Sunday morning.

“She’s started having contractions yesterday afternoon and her water broke at 6 this morning,” manager Ned Yost said Sunday. “He called yesterday and wasn’t sure if he was going to make it. It was around 11:30 or 12, and she was starting to have contractions. Then they slowed down, so he said he was coming to the park.”

Hochevar, who is 3-2 with a 1.93 ERA in 44 appearances covering 56 innings, mopped up in Saturday’s 7-2 defeat against the Nationals. He struck out three and only allowed one hit in three shutout innings.

“My whole mind-set was, ‘I’m going to get as much out of him as I can, because if she’s having contractions now he’s going to be gone,’” Yost said.

The Hochevars — who already have a daughter, Laney — were scrambling to get family in town, but Luke might remain away from the club for as many as three days.

Meanwhile, Smith can probably drive I-29 between Omaha and Kansas City with his eyes closed.

“It’s kind of a boring drive,” Smith said. “It’s a really boring drive, but it’s worth it if you’re coming up here. You can’t complain about coming back to the big leagues. No matter how many times it is, you just get in the car and go.”

Unofficially, Smith, who is 1-1 with a 3.27 ERA in eight appearances covering 22 innings, holds the team record for most recalls in a single season.

“(Fellow reliever Louis) Coleman had seven last year and this is seven for me, so that ties it,” said Smith, who probably will head back to Omaha for a few days when Hochevar returns before the rosters expand Sept. 1.

Myers to make KC debut

Ramp up the angst. Royals fans finally will get the chance to see outfielder Wil Myers in a big-league game.

Of course, he’ll be wearing a Tampa Bay jersey when the Rays swing through town Monday to make up “The Snow Game” from May 2.

“You wish him nothing but the best and it’ll be pretty cool to see him come back and play here at the K,” first baseman Eric Hosmer said.

Many fans, of course, won’t feel the same way.

Myers was the centerpiece in an offseason trade that netted James Shields in return. He set the league ablaze batting .340 with seven doubles, eight home runs and 30 RBIs in his first 42 games.

However, since Aug. 10, Myers has returned to earth, batting .180 with only three extra-base hits in the last 13 games.

Nebraska tops college crowds

Nebraska wins.

Huskers Night drew the largest crowd among the four college-themed promotional games with 38,742 in attendance Aug. 10.

Of course, the fact that the Red Sox were in town might have inflated the gate that night.

No matter, the Cornhuskers’ faithful were also the only college-themed fans to witness a loss — 5-3 against Boston.

Ironically, the Royals beat the Tigers 1-0 on Mizzou Night before a crowds of 35,000, including plenty who came out for Buck Night and fireworks after the game.

K-State Day drew 20,723 on June 9 for a 2-0 win against Houston, while KU Day on Sunday drew 19,661 to watch a 6-4 win against Washington.

Ailing Mauer

Twins catcher Joe Mauer isn’t expected to play when the Royals visit Minnesota for a three-game series starting Tuesday.

Mauer has been sidelined for nearly a week with concussion-like symptoms and isn’t expected to resume any workouts until Tuesday at the earliest and wouldn’t return to the field for at least a few days after that.

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