Ben Zobrist joined the Royals for Thursday’s game against the Blue Jays, and the team optioned outfielder Paulo Orlando to Class AAA Omaha to make room on the roster. Manager Ned Yost said he wanted to keep infielder Cheslor Cuthbert in the majors, as Cuthbert will likely spell third baseman Mike Moustakas against a few left-handed pitchers in the coming days.
Zobrist can play third base, but Yost is more comfortable using him either in left field or at second base. Zobrist started in left on Thursday. Cuthbert has hit .316 with a double and a triple in the first six big-league games of his career.
At the very least, Orlando will rejoin the club when the rosters expand in September.
“He may be back sooner than that,” Yost said. “We just don’t want Paulo sitting up here, which probably would be what he would do. We saw more opportunities to play Cuthbert than we did for Paulo. So that makes the decision easier.
“And if it’s not working out, that Cuthbert is not getting at-bats, then we’ll send him back to get at-bats. And bring back Paulo, or whoever. Having those guys sitting and getting stagnant doesn’t make any sense.”
Orlando has hit .237 as a rookie, but he has won the hearts of fans with his late-game exploits. Orlando famously hit five triples in his first seven games. He delivered a walkoff grand slam against Tampa Bay on July 7 and a go-ahead blast against Toronto five days later.