Royals recall prospect Finnegan, option Calixte
CHICAGO -- The Royals recalled left-handed reliever Brandon Finnegan from Double-A Northwest Arkansas and optioned infielder Orlando Calixte to Triple-A Omaha on Friday. Finnegan posted an 0-1 record with a 3.86 ERA in his first two appearances -- both starts -- for Northwest Arkansas this season.
Finnegan, the 17th overall selection in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, sped through the organization and helped the Royals in last year's postseason. He pitched in seven regular-season games and then seven more games in the playoffs, including two appearances in the World Series.
Finnegan was the first player to pitch in the College World Series and the MLB World Series in the same year, but he suddenly found himself back in the Minors to start this season.
"It was real tough," Finnegan said. "Once you get a taste, you definitely don't want to go back down. But I had a lot of stuff I needed to work on. As soon as I went down, I hit it like a freight train. It was something I needed to get done. I've still got stuff to improve on, but I've been doing well. My stuff's been great and I've been doing what they want me to do."
Because the Royals' bullpen has been doing so well -- it took a streak of 28 scoreless innings and an MLB-best 0.52 ERA into Friday night's game against the White Sox -- Finnegan was surprised to get the call now. But Thursday night's 13-inning game played a role.
"We needed some length after pitching everybody but [Chris] Young and [Yohan] Pino," manager Ned Yost said. "Omar [Infante is] back, so we didn't need that extra infielder for protection, so we went with Brandon, who's been throwing the ball well in Double-A. He's an experienced guy, went through the postseason with us last year, and we're glad to have him back."
Part of the reason Finnegan was sent to the Minors was because in Spring Training, he didn't look like the same guy from last year's postseason.
"It was a whirlwind winter for him," Yost said. "It was a short winter for him and when he got [to Spring Training], he could have been in a little better shape. I think he's worked real hard to get himself back into shape, in pitching shape. His command was off in Spring Training, but he's been a guy that's always had tremendous command. I think he's back to being who he was last year. We'll see."
Calixte made his big league debut for the Royals on Sunday and went 0-for-2 with a run scored in a 4-2 victory over Oakland. Calixte is a career .242 hitter in 452 games in the Minor Leagues.