Outfielder David Lough feels far more at ease in this, his second trip to the big leagues. He joined the Royals prior to Friday’s series opener against the A’s at the Oakland Coliseum.
“When I came up last year (in September),” he admitted, “I was so nervous and so jittery. But now, I feel fine. I know all of these guys. I feel comfortable. I don’t feel anything different.”
The Royals recalled Lough from Class AAA Omaha after placing outfielder Jarrod Dyson on the 15-day disabled list because of what trainer Nick Kenney termed “a mild high ankle sprain.”
The diagnosis on Dyson came after he returned earlier in the day to Kansas City after suffering the injury in the eighth inning of Wednesday’s 9-5 victory over the Angels. He is expected to miss two-to-four weeks.
Lough, 27, was the obvious replacement. He was batting .340 with a .393 on-base percentage in 36 games while serving as Omaha’s leadoff hitter.
“He had a great spring,” manager Ned Yost said, “and went down did what you ask all young guys who have good springs to do — he continued it.”
Yost put Lough immediately into Friday’s lineup as the leadoff hitter but hedged when asked about future plans.
“He’s been hot and doing well,” Yost said. “I wanted to get him in and get him involved. I wanted to put him right in there. After that, I don’t know. That remains to be seen.
“I know with a lefty (Timmy Milone) going Saturday, that he wouldn’t play then. I didn’t want him just sitting for two days before I gave him an opportunity to play.”
Lough was Royals’ 11th-round pick in the 2007 draft and reached Omaha in 2010. He spent nearly three full seasons at Class AAA before making his big-league debut on Sept. 1, 2012. He batted .237 in 20 games.
“This is his second run through the big leagues,” Yost said. “He’s got some experience and a little bit of a feel for what it’s like. It could be good for him.”
Lough was alerted early Thursday morning to the possibility of a recall before getting the official word in the early afternoon. He departed Omaha at 5 p.m. but didn’t arrive to the club’s hotel until after 2 a.m. Friday.
“Went to Salt Lake City and had a delay,” he said. “I was just sitting in the airport because San Francisco had fog or something.”
Lough got off to a slow start this season at Omaha after batting .455 in 24 spring games but recently put together a 16-game hitting streak.
“I just tried to get back to what I was doing in spring training,” he said. “I was trying to stay as consistent as I can. I was leading off, and I’ve just been trying to get on base the best I could. I’ve been trying to see more pitches.
“In spring training, I was getting good pitches because I was getting in better counts. That’s kind of what happened (during the hitting streak).”