Royals welcome Moose back to No. 2 spot in lineup

May 21st, 2016

CHICAGO -- The Moose is back, and his bat is a welcome addition to a Royals team already trending upward.

Kansas City reinstated third baseman Mike Moustakas from the 15-day disabled list Saturday and optioned infielder Cheslor Cuthbert to Triple-A Omaha.

Moustakas hit a career-high 22 home runs last season and began this season hitting .258 with seven home runs in 25 games before a left thumb fracture sent him to the DL.

Royals manager Ned Yost said Moustakas is at or close to 100 percent, and the third baseman comes back to join a Royals team that has won four of five. The Royals beat the White Sox, 4-1, in Friday's three-game series opener to cut the White Sox's American League Central advantage to 3 1/2 games. Moustakas was in the lineup for Saturday's game, hitting second and playing third base.

"Any time you get him back, it's good timing," Yost said. "It doesn't matter if we're on a roll or not on a roll. Just kind of lengthens our lineup up. Him being out of that two-spot just kind of pushes everybody up. With him back in it now, it just makes the lineup fall back into place."

Moustakas went 2-for-8 with three strikeouts in two rehab games with Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

Worth noting

• Left-hander Mike Minor pitched five innings Friday in his first rehab start with Triple-A Omaha. Minor threw 82 pitches and gave up four runs on five hits and three walks. He also struck out five. Minor, recovering from surgery on a torn labrum in his left shoulder last May, previously started two games with Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

• The Royals signed left-hander Kyle Bartsch after the San Diego Padres released him this week. The Royals drafted Bartsch in 2013 and later traded him to the Padres for outfielder Reymond Fuentes. Bartsch was assigned to Northwest Arkansas.

• Not much of a surprise, but Yost said the Royals plan to stick with a three-man bench for the near future. With Kris Medlen and Chris Young on the mend, and with no off-day until June 9, pitching remains at a premium, and the Royals' tendency to rarely pinch-hit means Yost opted for an eight-man bullpen.