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Brooks scratched from Triple-A debut, called up

KANSAS CITY -- Aaron Brooks was supposed to be making his first start in Triple-A on Saturday, pitching for Omaha against Nashville.

Instead Brooks was in the Kansas City bullpen, ready to make his first Major League appearance, if necessary. Quite a dramatic change for the 24-year-old right-hander from San Bernardino, Calif.

"I'm glad to be here. Hopefully I can come in here and get acclimated to the team and do what I've got to do," he said.

Royals manager Ned Yost decided he needed a 12th pitcher -- and seventh reliever -- on his staff. So backup infielder Pedro Ciriaco was designated for assignment and Brooks was summoned from Omaha.

"I'm at 11 pitchers, I used four or five guys [Friday]," Yost said. "I can use these guys two and three days in a row as long as we have a lead. If we don't have a lead, it's senseless to use these guys to get through innings. So I needed that 12th guy to suck up innings."

The Royals were somewhat limited because they couldn't call up anyone on the 40-man roster who had been optioned to the Minor Leagues in the last 10 days. So that eliminated pitchers such as Danny Duffy and Chris Dwyer. Brooks wasn't on the 40-man roster so he was promoted and then placed on the 40-man.

Brooks was in the Major League Spring Training camp this year after being named Pitcher of Year for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. That was the highest level he's reached and he went 7-7 with a 4.17 ERA for the Naturals.

"He's never pitched above Double-A," Yost said. "He was supposed to start today in Triple-A so he's lengthened out. He can throw 85 pitches. The thing that I liked about him in Spring Training was that he had pitchability. He threw strikes, he wasn't overwhelmed by the situation in his first big league Spring Training. I've got to have somebody that can throw strikes."

Last year for Northwest Arkansas and Class A Advanced Wilmington, Brooks threw a total of 160 innings. He struck out 110 and walked only 22.

"I throw a lot of strikes, force contact and eat some innings up, for sure," Brooks said.

Right-hander Louis Coleman, now on the disabled list, is continuing to rehab from a finger bone bruise in Arizona and is expected to be ready to return in a few days. If so, Brooks could be sent back to Omaha.

"It might be a short stay so we'll see what happens," Yost said.

Brooks did not pitch in Saturday's game, nor did Yordano Ventura, the starter temporarily assigned to the bullpen. During the game, Ventura threw a light side session in preparation for his start Tuesday night against the Rays. So his bullpen time is over.

Brooks, told during Friday night's Omaha game that he was being called up, seemed a little dazzled by his unexpected promotion.

"I don't think it's set in yet," he said.

One thing that he didn't regret was missing his first Triple-A start.

"No, definitely not," he said. "I'll take this any day."

The raw rookie doesn't lack in confidence.

"It's a real honor for them to give me a shot. Obviously, they feel confident in my abilities," Brooks said. "I feel like I belong here."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for
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