Utility infielder Christian Colon gives Royals depth on bench

07/01/2014 6:31 PM

07/01/2014 11:26 PM

Upon his arrival in a major-league clubhouse for the first time on Monday, Christian Colon, the new utility infielder for the Royals, received a simple directive from manager Ned Yost.

“Help us win some games,” Yost told Colon, the No. 4 pick in the 2010 draft and a player searching for a big-league niche. The organization hopes he can find one in the coming weeks. Colon replaced Pedro Ciriaco as part of the bench.

“I’m as pumped as I can be,” Colon said. “It’s what you dream of.”

For years, as Colon toiled in the minors, fans fretted over the players the Royals could have selected in his place. The draft did not overflow with talent. But the Royals chose Colon over pitchers such as Matt Harvey and Chris Sale. The Mets’ Harvey started the All-Star Game last season before requiring Tommy John surgery. Sale haunts the Royals a few times a year for the White Sox.

The Royals projected Colon as a serviceable big-league shortstop. The acquisition and ascension of Alcides Escobar altered his development. For Omaha this year, Colon spent 33 games at shortstop, 26 at second base and 12 at third.

“I think he’ll really handle second base exceptionally well,” assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said in May. “Shortstop, he’s going to be an adequate guy there. The range is what’s going to be a little bit of a concern, if he plays over a long period of time.

“Third base he can handle, because he’s got instincts, and he’s got a good first step, and he’s got good hands.”

Aoki not healed

When Nori Aoki (groin strain) returns from the disabled list, the Royals may face a roster crunch.

The addition of Raul Ibanez brought another outfielder into the clubhouse. But the Royals likely won’t have to make any decisions on Aoki any time soon.

Yost indicated he did not expect Aoki to return during this 10-day road trip. Aoki is eligible to leave the disabled list on Sunday.

“He’s right where we thought he’d be, right where he’s supposed to be,” Yost said. “Feeling better. But not quite 100 percent.”

Ratings on rise

The Royals’ surge in June coincided with a rise in ratings for their games on Fox Sports Kansas City. The 26 games on the network averaged a 6.5 household rating, compared with 5.1 in May, the team announced. The overall pace, a 5.8 household rating, is still lagging behind last year’s mark.

Hosmer heating up?

The one silver lining for the Royals on Tuesday? Eric Hosmer, the team’s struggling first baseman, had a four-hit night. They were all singles.

It was his third four-hit game of the season.

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4370 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com

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