Pena, Giavotella, Joseph among KC callups
KANSAS CITY -- Veteran left-handed hitter Carlos Pena was among six players called up by the Royals on Tuesday.
Pena, second baseman Johnny Giavotella, shortstop Pedro Ciriaco and left-handed reliever Donnie Joseph were summoned from Triple-A Omaha. As expected, right-handed relievers Wade Davis and Louis Coleman were brought back from Class A Wilmington.
Pena and Ciriaco had to be added to Kansas City's 40-man roster. To make room, the Royals placed left-handed pitcher Noel Arguelles on the 60-day disabled list and designated outfielder-third baseman Edinson Rincon for assignment.
Pena was signed to a Minor League contract by Kansas City on Aug. 27, almost a month after being released by Houston. He was hitting .209 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 85 games as a designated hitter and first baseman for the Astros.
"We're going to use him off the bench as a left-handed bat. On days like today when we've got [Eric] Hosmer DHing, we can bring him in as a defensive replacement [for Billy Butler] at first base," manager Ned Yost said. "But mostly as a veteran off the bench. It's tough on young kids coming off the bench late in games in crucial situations. Veteran players have a better idea of how to do it and he fits that role real nice."
After being assigned to Omaha, Pena batted .333 (6-for-18) with two home runs and six RBIs in five games.
"It was actually a good time," Pena said. "They were making a run for the playoffs and I came down there and tried to do everything I could to help out and we accomplished that goal. And we had a lot of fun doing it."
Pena's most productive years were with the Tampa Bay Rays from 2007-09, when he had 100 or more RBIs each season. In 2007, he had 49 homers, 121 RBIs and a .282 average.
"There are awesome memories in Tampa Bay," Pena said, "and here I am trying to make some new ones. I'm a believer that the rest will be the best so I'm looking forward to good things."
Pena, 35, also played for Texas, Oakland, Detroit, Boston and the Chicago Cubs. In 1,471 games, he has 285 homers, 816 RBIs and a .233 average.
Giavotella, 26, was up briefly with the Royals earlier this season, getting into 10 games with a .206 average and four RBIs. For Omaha, he was slowed by a hip injury but played in 100 games, hitting .286 with seven homers and 46 RBIs. Once a top candidate to be the Royals' second baseman, the right-handed hitter batted .239 with three homers and 43 RBIs in 109 games during parts of three seasons with Kansas City.
Ciriaco, 27, previously spent time with Boston and San Diego this season. In 51 Major League games, the right-handed batter had a .228 average with two homers, eight RBIs and eight stolen bases. He has played all four infield positions.
The Royals claimed him off waivers from the Padres on July 16. For Omaha, he hit .281 with one homer and 15 RBIs in 43 games. Ciriaco hit .293 with 16 stolen bases in 76 games in 2012 for the Red Sox and was with the Pirates in 2010-11. He's a career .279 hitter with four homers and 34 RBIs in 158 Major League games.
Joseph, 25, was up with Kansas City briefly twice earlier this season, appearing in three games. He gave up four walks and two hits in 3 1/3 scoreless innings. For Omaha, Joseph appeared in 47 games with a 3.95 ERA, a 4-3 record, six saves and 84 strikeouts in 54 2/3 innings.
Davis, after being replaced in the rotation by Danny Duffy, was sent along with Coleman to Wilmington on Wednesday to clear roster space on the 25-man roster after Duffy was brought up from Omaha and reliever Luke Hochevar came off paternity leave.
For Wilmington, Davis struck out five batters in a two-inning appearance and Coleman had four strikeouts in two innings over two games.
Arguelles has been plagued with arm problems since signing for $7 million out of Cuba in 2010. This year, he pitched for three Minor League teams, primarily Double-A Northwest Arkansas, with a combined 1-9 record and a 5.73 ERA in 28 games (13 starts).
Rincon was claimed off waivers from San Diego on June 6 after undergoing left knee surgery in April. He played in 24 Minor League games, hitting .459 (17-for-37) for the Rookie League team at Surprise but just .173 in 13 games for Northwest Arkansas.
The Royals didn't hesitate to bring up four players off the Omaha roster even though the Storm Chasers made it to the Pacific Coast League playoffs. The Royals reaching the American League playoffs, of course, took priority.
Two days earlier, catcher Brett Hayes and reliever Francisley Bueno were recalled.
"This is probably it," Yost said. "There might be another one or two down the road. We don't know yet."