The Royals must make a decision on veteran lefty reliever Troy Patton, who has been pitching for Class AAA Omaha since July, by Saturday. The minor-league contract for Patton contains on Aug. 15 opt-out clause, so he can elect free agency if Kansas City does not add him to their active roster.
Barring an unforeseen injury — and manager Ned Yost insists the lingering back stiffness off Wade Davis will not require a stint on the disabled list — it is difficult to figure how the Royals could recall Patton. The bullpen already features eight useful arms, including a pair of long relievers in Kris Medlen and Chris Young. Few of the pitchers on the roster possess minor-league options.
Patton, who turns 30 in September, has a 3.07 ERA in 11 appearances for the Storm Chasers. He has struck out 11 batters in 14 2/3 innings. From 2011 to 2013, Patton posted a 3.05 ERA with 7.2 strikeouts per nine for the Orioles.
Major League Baseball suspended Patton for 80 games this past November after he tested positive for amphetamines. He was suspended for 25 games in 2014 for a similar violation.
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The Royals signed Patton to a minor-league deal in April. After he served his suspension, the team assigned him to Omaha on July 5.