The Royals on Sunday executed a long-planned roster tweak, recalling outfielder Paulo Orlando from Class AAA Omaha and sending infielder Cheslor Cuthbert back to Omaha.
The move, Royals manager Ned Yost said, was actually weeks in the making. When the Royals acquired infielder Ben Zobrist in late July, they decided to send Orlando back to Omaha to log some extended playing time before flipping the roles midway through August. Cuthbert will likely spend the next three weeks in Omaha before returning when rosters expand in September.
“When we decided between the two, we knew that we had a month to go in August,” Yost said. “We would probably send Paulo down until about the 15th to get him some at-bats, keep him sharp and then swap him out with Cuthbert for the second half of the month.”
The timeline, though, was sped up when Yost desired to get some more flexibility in the outfield.
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“Now we got (Zobrist) who can play anywhere on the infield,” Yost said. “And it just gives us more protection to start giving guys in the outfield breaks.”
It perhaps also didn’t hurt that Orlando is four for five with two doubles against Chicago’s Sunday starter, Jose Quintana. Orlando was in the lineup Sunday, playing left field and batting seventh. Center fielder Lorenzo Cain received a day off, while Zobrist started in place of Mike Moustakas.
“We can give Cain a break on a day like today,” Yost said, referenceing the stifling heat and humidity on Sunday. “Moose can get a break and we can put Zobrist in the infield.”
After returning to Omaha on July 30, Orlando has batted .250 with a .314 on-base percentage for the Storm Chasers in August.