There was no stunning shake-up after a miserable road trip, but the Royals made one notable roster move on Thursday before beginning a four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels at Kauffman Stadium.
Right-handed reliever Kelvin Herrera was demoted to Class AAA Omaha on the heels of some early-season struggles. The Royals filled his spot on the 25-man roster by recalling right-handed reliever Louis Coleman.
Herrera, 23, was long thought to be an important piece in the Royals’ young bullpen. But he was plagued by the longball in April and May, surrendering eight homers while yielding 11 earned runs in 201/3 innings.
“He needs to go down,” Royals manager Ned Yost said on Thursday. “What he’s run into, after having such a good year last year...the home runs have definitely been an issue for him, confidence-wise.”
It was the first true demotion of the season. (Left-hander Will Smith was twice recalled and sent down as an extra arm during two double-headers.) The Royals are hopeful that some success in Omaha will allow Herrera to regain some confidence in his mechanics.
“He really started overcompensating by overthrowing the ball because he had lost confidence in his fastball,” Yost said. “That resulted in horrible mechanics for that day. You get hurt doing that.”
Herrera was one of the best rookie relievers in baseball last season while posting a 2.35 ERA with 77 strikeouts in 76 appearances.
Coleman, 27, returns to the big leagues for the first time this season after posting a 3.25 ERA over 90 appearances in 2011 and 2012. Coleman has been dominant this season at Omaha, recording a 1.03 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 261/3innings.
For now, Yost remains optimistic that Herrera’s demotion would be beneficial in the long run.
“Let him have some success,” Yost said. “Get some confidence back in his abilities -- in his fastball. But also incorporate more of his good curveball and his good change-up. Then bring him back.
“He’s a big part of our pen. We need him right.”
Moustakas still confident
Despite a prolonged and frustrating slump, third baseman Mike Moustakas says he hasn’t lost confidence in his abilities. And that, according to Yost, is the prime reason the Royals have chosen to let Moustakas work out his problems at the major-league level.
“He keeps putting me in that lineup each night,” Moustakas said. “I love that he does that; I keep getting out there, and I keep getting to battle every night to play major-league baseball for the Royals. It gives me a lot of confidence.”
Perez back in the lineup
Catcher Salvador Perez was back in the lineup on Thursday after missing two games with a deep right hip bruise. The injury, suffered on Monday after Perez slammed into a dugout railing in Houston, was still causing some discomfort before Thursday’s game against the Angels. But Yost said Perez was healthy enough to play through it.
“It’s still bothering him,” Yost said. “It doesn’t bother him to catch, block balls in the dirt, throw or hit. It does bother him to run a little bit. But he’s not going to beat out any infield hits anyway.”
Perez was batting .368 with six doubles in May before the setback.
Yost said center fielder Jarrod Dyson was probably “at least three weeks” away from returning from his high-ankle sprain. Dyson went on the 15-day disabled list after injuring his ankle while tracking a ball in center field on May 15.