Brandon Finnegan received word around 12:30 a.m. on Friday morning. Just a few hours earlier, he had been charting a teammate’s start at Class AA Northwest Arkansas. Now he was headed back to join the Royals, the big-league club he aided last September.
The Royals recalled Finnegan on Friday to fortify a bullpen taxed by a 13-inning game on Thursday. The team sought a pitcher capable of handling multiple innings, and Finnegan was being stretched out as a starter after failing to make the club as a reliever during spring training.
Second baseman Omar Infante returned to the lineup for Friday’s game against the White Sox. The team optioned backup infielder Orlando Calixte to Class AAA Omaha to make room for Finnegan.
“We needed an extra arm,” manager Ned Yost said.
Finnegan gave up seven runs in his first start for the Naturals. He rebounded to spin four innings of one-hit baseball in his next outing. The club has limited his innings to keep Finnegan fresh for the second half of the season. The team hoped he would contribute at the big-league level. Now he’ll be up quicker than expected.
“I can go as long as they want me to,” Finnegan said. “My arm feels great. Whatever they want me to do, I’ll do.”