In an effort to aid a taxed bullpen, the Royals made a series of roster moves on Wednesday, one day before major-league rosters can expand for September. The dominos included right-handed Chien-Ming Wang heading to the disabled list and infielder Christian Colon heading to Class AAA Omaha.
Officially, the moves did not include the biggest news of all: Closer Wade Davis returned to Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday afternoon in advance of being activated from the disabled list before Friday’s series opener against the Detroit Tigers.
Davis, in fact, was nearly activated before Wednesday’s game, but a rainout at Class AAA Omaha on Monday delayed his final rehab appearance. He pitched a scoreless inning for the Storm Chasers on Tuesday night and was unavailable to pitch on Wednesday, Royals manager Ned Yost said.
The Royals, in need of fresh arms after an arduous week for the bullpen, chose to option Colon to Omaha and recall right-hander Brooks Pounders. They also recalled left-hander Scott Alexander after Wang was placed on the 15-day disabled list with biceps tendinitis.
Colon will be eligible to return on Sept. 6, the day after the Omaha season ends. The Royals are hopeful that Wang will return in 15 days.
“Our situation was dire,” Yost said of the bullpen. “We had to do it.”
The Royals will be able to add to their roster on Thursday, when clubs can expand their rosters for September. Any player on a team’s 40-man roster is eligible to be added to the major-league roster for September. With a day off on Thursday, Yost said the Royals probably will wait to announce their additions on Friday.
Still, Davis is expected to be among that group after spending all of August on the disabled list. Davis, who suffered a recurrence of a forearm strain in late July, posted a 1.60 ERA in 33 2/3 innings before the injury. He arrived in Kansas City on Wednesday and said the plan was to be ready by Friday.
Utility man Whit Merrifield and outfielder Terrance Gore would also appear to be strong candidates to join the club for September. With Colon headed back to Omaha for a week, the Royals were left without a backup infielder on Wednesday night. That issue could be remedied with the addition of Merrifield, who excelled for the Royals in May and June before being sent back to Omaha in late July.
Gore is expected to slide into his usual role as a pinch runner. There could be more moves, but for now, Yost said, the Royals simply needed an infusion of bullpen help.
“We just needed arms,” Yost said. “Alexander, he’s been throwing really well, and Pounders, we’ve seen him before up here and he’s fresh.”