The Royals made room for a pending roster addition on Wednesday afternoon, optioning outfielder Terrance Gore to Class AA Northwest Arkansas in the hours after a 13-2 loss to the Washington Nationals at Kauffman Stadium.
The club will make a corresponding roster move before opening a three-game series Friday night in Cleveland against the Indians. Gore, a pinch-running specialist, spent the season’s first 27 games on the big-league roster after making the team out of spring training.
He appeared in just four games, racking up two stolen bases and scoring two runs. He logged his first at-bat on Wednesday, striking out in the ninth inning.
Gore was on the roster to offer a late-game option off the bench, his speed wreaking havoc on opposing defenses. His presence helped win two games, including Tuesday’s walk-off victory at Kauffman Stadium. He had remained on the club when Jarrod Dyson returned from an oblique strain in mid-April.
When Dyson returned and the club optioned outfielder Reymond Fuentes to Class AAA Omaha, Royals manager Ned Yost said the next roster move could involve adding a 13th pitcher for depth purposes.
The Royals have a day off on Thursday before opening a series in Cleveland on Friday, but the bullpen has been taxed in recent days. Starter Chris Young lasted just 4 2/3 innings in Tuesday’s victory. Kris Medlen departed the game Wednesday with nobody out in the third inning.
On Friday, the Royals will begin a stretch of 13 games in 13 days before another off day on May 19.
If the Royals desire depth in the bullpen, one candidate is left-hander Brian Duensing, who signed a minor-league deal with the Royals in the offseason after spending the last seven seasons with the Minnesota Twins.
Duensing entered Wednesday with a 1.84 ERA in 14 2/3 innings at Class AAA Omaha. He was voted the Storm Chasers’ pitcher of the month.
Moustakas returns to the lineup
One day after recording a key pinch-hit in the ninth inning, third baseman Mike Moustakas returned to the starting lineup Wednesday. He had been out of the lineup the previous two days while battling a swollen thumb.
Moustakas’ thumb was still sore on Wednesday, Royals manager Ned Yost said. But after consulting with the training staff, Yost was comfortable putting Moustakas back in the lineup.
“I talked to (trainer Nick Kenney), and he said: ‘You know what? We can sit here for five more days, and it’s going to be about the same,’ ” Yost said. “He can play through it.”
Moustakas was 0 for 3 at the plate before being replaced by Christian Colon in a blowout loss.