More than seven sometimes-arduous years after he was drafted by Oakland in the 28th round from Wichita State, Dusty Coleman finally took batting practice as a big-league player Friday at Kauffman Stadium.
“It was the best,” Coleman said. “Just the sound and the smells and the scenery, it’s a dream come true for sure.”
The Royals optioned infielder Christian Colon to Class AAA Omaha before Friday’s game against the Twins and selected Coleman’s contract to fill the void on the active roster. The addition of Coleman also brings the club to the maximum 40 players on its 40-man roster.
The move is intended to keep Colon, who is batting .244 in 29 games with four doubles and four RBIs in 78 at-bats, sharp rather than rusting on the bench.
“We wanted to send him down for a while and let him get some at-bats and get playing regularly again,” Yost said. “In case something happens, he’d be available. … As long as everybody’s healthy, it doesn’t make any sense having him sit here. If you send him down, get him at-bats, get him playing short, third, second, (then) if we have an injury, he’s ready to go.”
Coleman, 28, is the beneficiary, though Yost plans to use him the same way he deployed Colon — sparingly.
“I’m ecstatic …,” said Coleman, a native of Sioux Falls, S.D., and former Wichita State standout. “I just feel completely blessed at this moment.”
Coleman and his wife, Sarah, a former Shockers volleyball player, followed her parents from Wichita to the Kansas City area three years ago.
The Colemans moved to Shawnee last year after spending the previous two years in Olathe.
Coleman, who signed a minor-league contract with the Royals during the offseason, spent the first seven years of his professional career in the Oakland organization.
He reached Class AAA in 2011 and 2013 after missing the entire 2010 season with a wrist injury after requiring multiple surgeries to repair a broken scaphoid bone.
“It’s definitely been a journey,” Coleman said. “There have been a lot of ups and downs, a few injuries here and there. … There was definitely times where I was like, ‘Am I called to do this still?’ I just felt like God was still tugging at me saying, ‘Hey, baseball’s still going to give you a shot,’ and here I am.”
Coleman was set to join Team USA on Saturday for the Pan-American Games, but received his first promotion to the big leagues instead.
Yost said he’s comfortable playing second base, shortstop and third base, the same as Colon.
“I’ve played the majority of my career (at shortstop), but the last couple years I’ve gotten a lot more chances at second base, and I feel really comfortable over there also. Third is definitely coming around too, but I’d have to go with short. Short’s my love.”
Coleman split time between Class AA Northwest Arkansas and Omaha, batting .304 with 17 doubles, seven home runs and 35 RBIs in 69 combined games.