KANSAS CITY -- It's been a long journey back to the big leagues for Francisley Bueno.
Four years ago, Bueno was called up to the Majors for the first time. He appeared in his first game with the Atlanta Braves on Aug. 13, 2008, and things didn't go as planned. In 2 1/3 innings that day, Bueno allowed two runs on five hits -- including a home run -- and one walk. He was later ejected and subsequently suspended for three games for throwing at Alfonso Soriano's head.
The Royals selected Bueno's contract from Triple-A Omaha on Saturday. In a corresponding roster move, right-hander Roman Colon was designated for assignment.
Bueno hadn't pitched in the Majors with the Royals until making his debut in Saturday's 8-2 loss to the Cardinals.
Bueno entered in the top of the sixth inning and things got off to a rocky start after the first two batters reached on a single and a fielder's choice. Bueno received some help from his defense, which turned a 2-5-4 double play, before he allowed an RBI single to Rafael Furcal.
In all, Bueno allowed one run on two hits in his one inning.
With Omaha, Bueno appeared in 25 games and went 1-3 with a 2.85 ERA. He struck out 38 batters in 41 innings.
Bueno is in his first season in the Royals' organization following two years playing in the Mexican League. Before that, he was a member of the Braves organization, appearing in that fateful game.
"I feel pretty good. I was working hard for that reason: to come back to the big leagues. And it really paid off," Bueno said with the help of translating teammate Brayan Pena.
The relationship between Bueno and Pena goes far beyond locker room language conversion. The two are best friends, having grown up together in Havana, Cuba. They've known each other since they were 8 years old and were Little League teammates. Bueno is the godfather of Pena's son.
One loose end from Bueno's lone big league appearance hasn't been cleaned up, though. He never served the suspension. Royals manager Ned Yost explained that the suspension is currently going through the appeals process, as if it happened yesterday.
The Royals' bullpen was thinned in Friday's 11-4 loss to the Cardinals when starter Vin Mazzaro lasted just 1 1/3 innings. Colon was the first man out of the 'pen and pitched 4 1/3 innings.
"[We] needed another arm in the bullpen," Yost said. "We're kind of going without a long man, but the extra arm helps. Colon did a great job with saving the 'pen last night. We've got a full 'pen today because of it. And we had three guys go one inning, which isn't bad, and three guys that didn't pitch, so we're in pretty good shape down there [Saturday] thanks to Colon."
Colon appeared in three games with the Royals since being called up on June 14. He had an ERA of 6.75 in eight innings.