Royals general manager Dayton Moore stood in a hallway outside Ned Yost’s office on late Tuesday night, a collection of team officials congregating for an impromptu meeting after a 10-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Royals had lost rookie outfielder Brett Eibner to a left lateral ankle sprain in Tuesday’s win — a diagnosis that would be confirmed after an MRI on Wednesday morning — and the club needed to make a roster move to fill void. The conversation lasted for more than 15 minutes.
The decisions made on Tuesday night were revealed on Wednesday afternoon. In a series of moves, the Royals placed Eibner on the 15-day disabled list and recalled reliever Peter Moylan from Class AAA Omaha. In a related move, the club optioned right-hander Dillon Gee to Omaha and recalled outfielder Reymond Fuentes.
“We were stuck, knowing that Eibner is going on the D.L.,” Yost said. “Do we need another position player now that we’re an outfielder short, or do we need another arm? We kind of needed both.”
The moves required a degree of creativity. The Royals had to tie Eibner’s disabled-list stint with Moylan’s recall, because the veteran reliever had not spent the requisite 10 days in the minors since being optioned out on Sunday.
The Royals viewed Gee as momentarily expendable after he threw five innings in Tuesday’s victory. Yost said Gee would be recalled after spending 10 days in the minor leagues.
“We could cover both ends and get Dillon back here in 10 days,” Yost said. “Dillon had an option left, and he wasn’t going to be able to pitch for five days. So we’ll just protect ourselves the best we can.”
Gee began the season as the club's long reliever. He joined the rotation when Young went on the disabled list with a forearm strain. He allowed nine runs in nine innings over his last two starts.
His option to Omaha means right-hander Chris Young will return to the starting rotation on Sunday in Cleveland. Young threw three scoreless innings on Tuesday, his second appearance since returning from the disabled list.
Yost said Young would have a pitch count of around 75 pitches on Sunday. During his performance on Tuesday, Yost said Young appeared to have the life on his fastball that was missing during a frustrating stretch in April and May.
Eibner relieved after ankle sprain
Just four games into his major-league career, outfielder Brett Eibner is headed to the disabled list. It could have been a lot worse.
“It’s great news,” Eibner said. “No fracture; nothing wrong with my Achilles. We got a sprain, and we’re going to take five to seven days and come back and see how it is.”
One night earlier, Eibner had to be carted off the field after injuring his left ankle on a freaky play in left-center. Eibner shifted his weight while tracking a ball near the wall, he said. In moments, his left foot gave out.
“It hit off the pad,” Eibner said. “It came off a little bit quicker, and I had to make a quick lateral move and just the way my body went and the way my foot was planted — it got one of those ligaments down there and it just kind of grabbed on me.”
In the moment, it appeared Eibner could be facing a serious Achilles’ injury. Instead, he will likely be back in two to four weeks. The Royals do not have a specific timetable for his return. He is expected to be re-evaluated in five days. He will be eligible to come off the disabled list June 16.
“You never know, but I’ll come back in five days and we’ll see how it’s doing then,” said Eibner, who was hitting .462 in four games.
Moustakas to undergo knee surgery on Thursday
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas will undergo season-ending knee surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on Thursday. Moustakas traveled to Pensacola, Fla., this week to meet with renowned orthopedic surgeon James Andrews.
The Royals said Andrews confirmed the original diagnosis. Moustakas is expected to return for spring training in 2017.