The Royals restocked their bullpen Tuesday afternoon, recalling right-hander Aaron Brooks after Yohan Pino pitched 3 1/3 innings to compensate for an abbreviated start from Danny Duffy.
The Royals optioned Pino to Class AAA Omaha. The club sought a pitcher capable of providing long relief. Left-hander Brandon Finnegan was not eligible because he had not spent 10 days since his last option. So the choice was Brooks, who posted a 3.51 ERA in 33 1/3 innings for the Storm Chasers.
The team needed an extra pitcher to protect against Edinson Volquez’s blistered right thumb. Volquez only lasted three innings in his last outing.
“We didn’t have anybody long,” manager Ned Yost said. “And you’d blow your bullpen out again (if Volquez left early). We needed long protection. (Brooks) can give us 80 pitches.”
The organization is still debating how to proceed with veteran right-hander Joe Blanton. His minor-league contract features an opt-out clause on Friday. Blanton has a 3.89 ERA in seven outings with Omaha, and the organization would like to retain him as organizational depth.
Blanton, a 34-year-old pitcher with 10 years of big-league experience, is not on the 40-man roster. The only relievers on the major-league club with minor-league options are Brooks and Kelvin Herrera. The club has no intention of sending Herrera to the minors, so it is unclear how the team would retain Blanton when Jason Vargas returns from the disabled list.