Catcher John Buck was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a slight herniation in his lower back, Royals manager Trey Hillman announced before Sunday’s game against the White Sox.
Catcher Brayan Pena’s contract was selected from Triple-A Omaha to take his spot on the roster.
Buck was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital after being suddenly seized with back pain just before his time at bat in the third inning on Saturday night.
“The inning ended with him reaching up and tagging on the strike three and he came down, took his catcher’s gear off and realized his spot in the lineup was due up,” Hillman said.
“He was reaching for something – I think his catching helmet had fallen off – and felt a little tweak. He grabbed his bat and as soon as he went up the stairs (of the dugout), he went down. It just grabbed on him. It’s unfortunate.”
Hillman said Buck was still confined to the hospital on Sunday.
“He was in some pain last night,” Hillman said. “It grabbed him so hard they said he went down to his knees.”
Buck, relegated this year to a secondary role to Miguel Olivo, was batting .226 with three home runs and 19 RBIs in 28 games. He had made a special effort to streamline his body during the winter and was in excellent condition this spring.
Pena was batting .307 with four homers and 18 RBIs for Omaha in 22 games, although he caught in just five games and had played the outfield in nine. He appeared in four games for the Royals, going 2-for-7, before being designated for assignment on April 24. Pena cleared waivers and was assigned to Omaha on May 5.