Getz, Herrera set to return to Royals
Giavotella, Teaford and Ciriaco sent to Triple-A Omaha
KANSAS CITY -- Chris Getz is back to play second base and Kelvin Herrera is returning to the bullpen, as the Royals made some All-Star break roster moves on Thursday.
To make room, second baseman Johnny Giavotella and relief pitcher Everett Teaford were optioned to Triple-A Omaha.
The Royals also assigned infielder Pedro Ciriaco, claimed off waivers from the Padres on Tuesday, to Omaha. He had to clear waivers first because he was out of options.
Behind the moves was an effort to get the Royals moving up in the standings in the final 70 games of their season after ending the first half with five straight losses and going six games under .500.
"We've got to go -- it's time to go, so we've got to make sure we've got as many hot guys in that lineup as we can get in there," manager Ned Yost said.
One of those guys is Getz, who hit .313 in 14 games for Omaha. Getz began the season as the Royals' second baseman, but after batting .214 in 47 games, he was optioned to Omaha on June 22.
"Getz has been swinging the bat really well down there, and like when we brought Johnny up, Johnny was swinging really well right there, so we're just going with hot hands right now," Yost said.
Giavotella struggled at the plate after being called up on June 30. He went 3-for-4 in his first game vs. Minnesota, but he was just 4-for-30 since then and was hitting .206 in 10 games.
"I didn't really have too many at-bats, so I wasn't really able to get my feet under me and get comfortable. It's just the name of the game and I have to go back to Omaha. I'm not going to change anything," Giavotella said. "I'm happy for the guy [Getz], he was doing well in Triple-A and he deserves to be up here."
Getz said the time at Omaha was beneficial, because he had time to make adjustments in his batting approach without the obvious difficulties of implementing changes while playing at the Major League level.
"I know expectations are very high around here and they should be, because the talent level is very high and I hope to be a big part of it," Getz said. "Just get back to being myself and playing and hopefully we have some fun."
The hard-throwing Herrera was in his second Minor League stint this year. In 29 games for Kansas City, he was 3-5 with a 5.20 ERA and was most recently sent out on June 25.
"He needed to incorporate his curveball and his changeup a little more and just continue to work on his mechanics," Yost said. "I want guys getting the job done up here, and he wasn't getting the job done."
In a total of 12 outings for Omaha and Double-A Northwest Arkansas, he gave up just two earned runs in 18 innings with a 1.00 ERA and had 27 strikeouts against six walks.
Yost will put Herrera right back into the late-inning setup mix with Tim Collins, Aaron Crow and Luke Hochevar. He won't let Herrera's earlier problems influence his decisions.
"It's not going to scare me away from him -- 'OK, gee, we've got runners at first and second. I don't want to bring Herrera in here,'" Yost said. "If you're in the big leagues, you're in the big leagues and he's a quality Major League reliever who's struggled. He's gone down, he's got himself back on track, he's throwing the ball well -- let's see what happens."
Teaford arrived just last Saturday and pitched two-thirds of a scoreless inning in Sunday's loss in Cleveland. He returns to the Storm Chasers, with whom he was 3-2 with a 2.88 ERA in 23 games, including nine starts.
The moves were announced before the Royals held a one-hour optional workout on Thursday evening at Kauffman Stadium.
Technically, Getz and Herrera were placed on the Major Leagues' new "taxi squad" and won't be formally added to the 25-man roster until before Friday night's series opener against Detroit at Kauffman Stadium.
Yost is eager to get back into action against the Tigers, who lead the American League Central, eight games ahead of the third-place Royals. On their final road trip after a split of four games in New York, the Royals were swept in three games in Cleveland.
"We lost the last three games and that kind of put a bad taste in your mouth going into the break, but you regroup and here we go again," Yost said.