Bubba Starling’s wait for a major-league call-up spanned eight years.
Once the call came Thursday, the wait to enter the Royals’ lineup is less than 24 hours.
Starling is starting in centerfield Friday as the Royals open the second half of the season with a home series against the Detroit Tigers. He’s hitting seventh.
Starling, the No. 5 overall pick in 2011 out of Gardner Edgerton High School, hit .310 with seven home runs and 38 RBI with Triple-A Omaha and was selected for the league’s all-star game.
“We just feel like he’s where he needs to be right now,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said Thursday after the Royals announced they planned to select his contract. “It’s time to take the next step. He’s prepared for this opportunity. He’s earned this unbelievable opportunity and accomplishment. We’re looking forward to watching him play.”
Moore also noted that Starling will play consistently in his first shot in the majors after a long minor-league road that entailed a lengthy injury history. He will play both center field and right field.
The first opportunity comes in center.
The full Royals lineup:
1. Whit Merrifield, RF
2. Adalberto Mondesi, SS
3. Alex Gordon, LF
4. Hunter Dozier, 3B
5. Jorge Soler, DH
6. Cheslor Cuthbert, 1B
7. Bubba Starling, CF
8. Nicky Lopez, 2B
9. Martin Maldonado, C
Pitcher: Danny Duffy