After six weeks away, Alex Rios departed the disabled list as the Royals activated him before Saturday’s game against the Cubs. To make room on the roster, the club optioned fellow outfielder Paulo Orlando to Class AAA Omaha.
The maneuver was necessary but still difficult for the club to make. Orlando, a 29-year-old rookie from Brazil, has been a useful contributor in Rios’ absence and has outplayed fellow backup outfielder Jarrod Dyson. But Dyson is out of options, and likely would have been claimed on waivers. So Orlando will return to the minors.
“He’s the only one who had options,” Yost said. “Simple as that. Is it fair? Nah. That’s life. We’ve got nobody with options in the pitching staff. Nobody with options but him and Colon. We’ve got an extra outfielder. We don’t have an extra infielder.”
Orlando departs hitting .241 with a .657 on-base plus slugging percentage. Dyson is hitting .219 with a .551 OPS. Orlando electrified observers with by his five triples in his first seven games before experiencing regression.
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In Omaha, Orlando will play all three outfield positions. The team wants to keep him sharp for whenever he returns to the majors this season.
“He held his own,” Yost said. “He did a great job defensively in right field. He held his own on offense. Got some big hits.”
Rios has not played since April 13. He had his hand broken by a fastball from Twins reliever J.R. Graham. Rios hit .321 in his first seven games as a Royal.