Opinion

Alex Rios starts rehab assignment, could rejoin Royals this weekend

Kansas City Royals Alex Rios (15) took part in a simulated game for pitcher Jason Vargas before Friday's baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals on May 22, 2015 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City Royals Alex Rios (15) took part in a simulated game for pitcher Jason Vargas before Friday's baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals on May 22, 2015 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. JSLEEZER@KCSTAR.COM

Alex Rios arrived in Omaha on Monday for a minor-league rehabilitation stint that is not expected to last very long. Rios went 0-for-5 for the Class AAA Storm Chasers in his first competitive at-bats since breaking a bone in his left hand on April 13.

Rios could rejoin the Royals as soon as Friday in Chicago. The Royals will play a three-game series with the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

When Rios returns, Kansas City faces a roster quandary. Given the team’s eight-man bullpen, the bench consists of four players: Catcher Drew Butera, infielder Christian Colon, outfielder Jarrod Dyson and outfielder Paulo Orlando. Either Dyson or Orlando handles right field on any given day in Rios’ absence.

So, barring a philosophical change from manager Ned Yost and shift back to a seven-man rotation, an outfielder will lose his roster spot. The choice has not been made, but it appears the team is more likely to option Orlando to Omaha, rather than designate Dyson for assignment. Orlando still has minor-league options. Dyson does not.

Orlando has displayed more value than Dyson thus far this season. He is hitting .249 with a .649 OPS. This is not the production of an All Star, but it far outstrips Dyson’s .206 batting average and .528 OPS.

Yet for the club to keep Dyson and send Orlando back to the minors is not a controversial, or even surprising decision. All teams strive for depth, and the Royals are no different. Dyson would likely be claimed on waivers, and the organization would lose him. By parting with Orlando, they retain control of both players.

FROM THE STAR

1. Jeremy Guthrie did not pitch well on Monday. Let’s leave it at that.

2. Danny Duffy was placed on the disabled list.

THE ROYALS’ PLAYOFF PERCENTAGE (ACCORDING TO BASEBALL PROSPECTUS)

54.1 percent

HERE IS SOME ROCK MUSIC

“Head In The Clouds” by Shamir.

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4730 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @McCulloughStar. Download True Blue, The Star’s free Royals app, here.

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