The ongoing search of the Royals for sustainable middle relief brought another new face into the clubhouse on Sunday morning. Scott Downs, a 38-year-old veteran, joined the club as a situational left-hander for manager Ned Yost.
The White Sox released Downs on Thursday. His phone rang soon after. Yost hopes to pair Downs with righties such as Aaron Crow and Kelvin Herrera in the seventh inning.
“I had a conversation with the manager, and basically I told him I’m at his beck and call,” Downs said before throwing a scoreless inning in a 4-1 loss to the Indians. “I’ll do whatever’s asked to help this team win. That’s my job, just to be an arm to get it to the eighth and the ninth inning.”
Downs replaced Casey Coleman on the roster. A day after giving up a run in an appearance, Coleman was optioned to Class AAA Omaha. Coleman will join lefty Tim Collins, who is still looking to recapture his form after a recent demotion.
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Down arrived with an unsightly 6.08 ERA. But the Royals were more encouraged by his peripheral numbers. Left-handed hitters had batted .224 against him.
“He’s a durable guy,” Yost said. “A guy you can use three or four days in a row to get an out, two outs.”
Aoki to begin rehab assignment
Nori Aoki packed his bags and departed for a rehabilitation assignment in the minor leagues on Sunday morning. His role when he returns to the Royals has yet to be determined.
Aoki intends to start a brief stint with Class AA Northwest Arkansas on Monday night. He has been steadily testing his strained left groin muscle during the past two weeks.
“In drills and practice, I feel great,” Aoki said through his interpreter, Kosuke Inaji. “We’ve just got to bring that into the game now. And take it game by game there.”
With Aoki out, the team signed outfielder Raul Ibanez. His arrival creates something of a roster crunch. The team has five outfielders once more. Aoki figures to split time with Ibanez and Jarrod Dyson. To keep all five on the roster, Christian Colon could be optioned to Class AAA Omaha.
Ciriaco bound for Omaha
Utility infielder Pedro Ciriaco has accepted his assignment to Omaha. Ciriaco cleared waivers on Saturday, and declined free agency.
The team also recently signed former Reds and Braves shortstop Paul Janish to a minor-league deal. Janish hit .234 with Colorado’s Class AAA affiliate.
Hosmer breaks through
When Eric Hosmer poked an opposite-field double down the third-base line, he snapped a 18-game streak of futility. The ninth-inning double was his first extra-base hit since June 15.