Mejia among Royals' cuts; Keller reinstated

August 6th, 2020

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals made the required cuts from their 30-man roster to move it to 28 on Thursday, and perhaps the toughest call for manager Mike Matheny was sending utility man Erick Mejia back to the team’s alternate training site at T-Bones Stadium in Kansas City.

The Royals activated right-hander Brad Keller from the injured list, and optioned Mejia, catcher Meibrys Viloria and pitcher Scott Blewett to their alternate training site.

Mejia, a switch-hitter, had become a favorite among Matheny and his staff for his versatility. He can play all three outfield positions and everywhere on the infield. Mejia even began catching bullpens for the first time in his career during Summer Camp and was labeled the team’s emergency catcher.

The roster decision likely came down to Mejia or outfielder Nick Heath, who was scheduled to make his first career start on Thursday night.

“It was amazing how many times both Erick and Heath were at the top step of the dugout, ready to come in and run,” Matheny said. “Even [the option] to bring Erick in defensively was always there. And he did such a great job in the Cleveland game, getting that bunt down [to help us win].

“You can see where his value is. He did a great job in Spring Training and in camp. So versatile.”

But the Royals, mired in a six-game losing streak entering Thursday, simply didn’t have a great need for that versatility.

“At this point, to put him in there is almost not fair to him,” Matheny said. “He gets almost stale. We’re trying to chase every win and not making many changes.

“We need to get him locked in again. You saw what he did in Summer Camp. He was giving us one of our best at-bats every time. This guy is so good. Always ready. Always understood what was going on.”