Christian Colon starred in the first big-league start of his career on Friday night. But his two doubles and a triple did not earn him a spot in the starting lineup the next day. Instead, he spent some time before the Royals game shagging fly balls with injured outfielder Nori Aoki.
Colon drew the assignment because he is a rookie and because the team wanted to pair Aoki with another player to expedite the drill’s efficiency. Aoki is rehabilitating from a strain in his left groin muscle. Colon is looking to stick in the majors in any way possible.
Manager Ned Yost said Colon “could” play the outfield in a pinch, but insisted he was just completing some conditioning. Colon laughed when asked if he would man center field in the near future.
“I’ll do anything,” Colon said. ”You’ve got to be prepared, right?”
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So after a day in the sun, he returned to the shadows. Second baseman Omar Infante rejoined the lineup after missing a game due to tightness in his lower back. Danny Valencia manned third base against Cleveland’s left-handed starter. Colon rode the bench.
With Class AAA Omaha, Colon split his time between second, third and shortstop. The Royals view second base as his most comfortable position, and they fret about his long-term viability at shortstop. But Yost is confident Colon could handle the position in a pinch.
Except for one thing: Alcides Escobar plays daily. He averaged 157 games a year during his first three seasons with the Royals.
“He doesn’t need days off,” Yost said.
Ciriaco clears waivers
Designated for assignment on Monday, utility infielder Pedro Ciriaco cleared waivers on Saturday. He has until Sunday to decide whether to accept an assignment to Class AAA Omaha or elect free agency.
Ciriaco hit .213 in 25 games for the Royals this season.