Royals send struggling reliever Michael Mariot to minors, recall Casey Coleman

07/02/2014 5:11 PM

07/02/2014 5:11 PM

The carousel that is the Royals’ collection of middle relievers continued to spin on Wednesday morning. The team recalled right-hander Casey Coleman, who took the place of struggling rookie Michael Mariot.

The night before, Mariot allowed five runs in an ugly outing. The performance cost him his roster spot. He was optioned back to Class AAA Omaha, where Coleman had posted a 1.93 ERA.

“I need an arm,” manager Ned Yost said before a 4-0 victory over the Twins in the series finale at Target Field. “I was short on pitching.”

Coleman completed two scoreless appearances in his first stint with the Royals earlier this year. But his place here may be temporary. Yost is keeping a close eye on the minor-league activity of lefty Tim Collins and righty Louis Coleman.

When the Royals built their bullpen, they projected utilizing both pitchers. Except both floundered in the majors this season. Louis Coleman failed to heed the team’s instructions during a minor-league stint earlier this year. The Royals hope Collins does not suffer the same fate.

So while Yost was happy to see Collins’ early output, eight strikeouts and three hits allowed in six innings, he was more concerned with the process. The team instructed Collins to sharpen his off-speed pitches, and throw them in the zone.

“Look, last time he went down [on a rehab assignment in April], he struck out like nine guys,” Yost said. “And I watched like five strikeouts, and none of them were strikes. That doesn’t work up here.

“So they say he’s more effective with his breaking ball. He’s throwing it for strikes. He’s mixing his changeup more for strikes. He’s doing exactly what we want him to do.”

Gordon cools down

Alex Gordon was an offensive force during the team’s 10-game winning streak last month. He has cooled off in the ensuing days. He went hitless in five at-bats on Wednesday, and has hit .146 in the 13 games since the streak ended.

Binford moves up a level

Christian Binford, the Royals’ sole selection for the Futures Game, received a promotion to Class AA Northwest Arkansas on Wednesday.

Binford, a 21-year-old right hander, dominated at Class A Wilmington. He struck out 92 batters in 822/3 innings, allowed two home runs and posted a 2.40 ERA. In the process, he out-performed more-celebrated teammates Sean Manaea and Miguel Almonte.

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4370 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/McCulloughStar.

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