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SAS CITY -- Prized pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi was among five players promoted to the Royals from Triple-A Omaha on Sunday.
Odorizzi, the Royals' No. 3 prospect and No. 31 overall prospect according to MLB.com, joined pitchers Nate Adcock and Tommy Hottovy, catcher Adam Moore and infielder Irving Falu in the call-ups, made after Omaha was defeated by Reno on Saturday night in the Pacific Coast League championship series.
Manager Ned Yost said that Odorizzi, a starter for Omaha, will be assigned to the bullpen for now, but likely would be used as a starter before the season ends. Adcock and Hottovy will work out of the bullpen with Moore and Falu in bench roles.
Odorizzi was added to the 40-man roster, which now has 39 players. The other four players already were on the 40-man roster. As expected, outfielder Wil Myers was not called up because, unlike Odorizzi, he does not require roster protection from this year's Rule 5 Draft.
"We'll put him in the pen right now, we'll look at it," Yost said of Odorizzi. "He won't start against any contending clubs. We've got two series against Cleveland that we're looking at. We might start him at the end of this week against Cleveland, we'll see."
If Omaha had extended the PCL finals to a fifth game on Sunday, Odorizzi would have started for Storm Chasers manager Mike Jirschele. Instead he was in Kansas City, donning uniform No. 49.
"Jirsch came out about 10 minutes after the game and started calling people in. I was the last one, and I'm ready to get going. I'm really overwhelmed and grateful for this opportunity," Odorizzi said.
"I was hoping. I need to be protected this year, so I was hoping that was a possibility. But I was blown away when it finally did happen."
Odorizzi, 22, started the season with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, but was soon promoted to Omaha, where he went 11-3 with a 2.93 ERA in the regular season. Counting his record for both teams and the playoffs, he was 16-6 with a 3.46 ERA in 28 games, including 27 starts.
After joining Omaha, he ran up some high pitch counts, but with the help of pitching coach Doug Henry, he largely overcame that problem.
"I worked with Doug a lot and he was stressing getting early-count outs, get ahead, make good pitches early. And when I started doing that and throwing more offspeed early in the counts and started tinkering with things, it helped out a lot," Odorizzi said. "And I got to go consistently deep in games."
Odorizzi has pitched a total of 156 innings this season and so far there's been no mention to him of a limit, and he said he feels strong at this point.
"Definitely," he said. "I'm ready to go, I've probably never been more ready to go in my life."
When Odorizzi, from Highland, Ill., got the call-up news, he immediately called his fiancée, Carissa Boxell, and his parents back home. Then he got into a car and drove from Omaha to Kansas City, arriving about 3 a.m. CT on Sunday.
"It wasn't hard to sleep fast, I really didn't want to go to sleep," he said.
Oddly enough, the big name in the KC-Milwaukee trade that brought Odorizzi to the Royals, pitcher Zack Greinke, was also at Kauffman Stadium with the Angels. Perhaps they'd meet.
"I've never met him before. It's kind of a cool thing. What a coincidence, right?" Odorizzi said.
Adcock, also a right-hander, is back down I-29 from Omaha for the sixth time this season. In his various earlier stints with the Royals, he was 0-1 with a 1.57 ERA in 10 games, including three starts. For Omaha, he had a 9-7 record, including the playoffs.
Hottovy, a sidearming left-hander from Kansas City, made six appearances for the Royals earlier this season with a 4.05 ERA. For Omaha, he was 2-2 with seven saves and a 2.52 ERA. Yost sees him primarily as a specialist against left-handed batters.
Moore, who has previous big league experience with Seattle, was claimed on waivers from the Mariners on July 7. For Omaha, Moore hit .296 with eight doubles, three homers and 22 RBIs in 35 games. He was a University of Nebraska teammate of Alex Gordon.
Falu, who can play anywhere in the infield and also the outfield if needed, is up for the third time. He made a good impression in 15 games with a .321 (17-for-53) average, including a triple in his first at-bat against the Yankees. For Omaha, he hit .329 in 88 games.
The most scrutiny, however, will be directed toward Odorizzi, who is expected to be a 2013 rotation candidate in Spring Training.
"This is what I've been working for the past years in the Minors," he said. "Now the time's here, so I've got to take advantage of it."