The lineup of the Cleveland Indians features talented left-handed hitters such as Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall, and as they come to Kauffman Stadium for a series that starts Tuesday, the Royals made a roster move to bolster their bullpen accordingly.
The team promoted southpaw reliever Donnie Joseph after Monday’s series finale against the Yankees was rained out. To make room on the roster, the team shipped right-hander Wilking Rodriguez back to Class AAA Omaha.
Royals manager Ned Yost considered Joseph a critical addition in advance of this series.
“Their lefties over there are really good left-handed hitters,” Yost said. “The ability to match up with an extra arm out of the bullpen, to come in and get a big out, come in and get two big outs, could benefit us.”
Tim Collins has been ineffective for most of this season, posting a 4.70 ERA. Francisley Bueno appears to be taking a more active role in situations that would call for a lefty.
Joseph has struck out more than a batter per inning with Omaha, but his struggles with command have left him with a 2.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has a 3.91 ERA in 23 innings.
Yost indicated the team did not consider Bruce Chen for this assignment. Chen allowed four runs and 10 hits in a four-inning rehab start with Omaha on Sunday. The team still wants him to stretch out as a starter to provide depth in case of an injury in the rotation.
Yost refuses to say where Chen fits into the team’s plans. It is unlikely he would replace Danny Duffy in the rotation, but the team still needs coverage.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do with Bruce when he comes back,” Yost said. “There’s too much that has to happen. When we get there, then we’ll make a decision.”
Jason Vargas will start Tuesday against the Indians, with Yordano Ventura set to go the next day. Jeremy Guthrie pitches the series opener in Chicago on Friday.
Another benefit of the rainout? Catcher Salvador Perez receives a day off, without having to miss any action. Yost initially penciled Brett Hayes into his lineup for Monday. Now Perez can return to his regular post on Tuesday rested, and the team won’t have to spend a day without him.
The postponed game against the Yankees will be made up on Aug. 25, with the time still to be determined.