Blake Wood is in and Josh Rupe is out of the Royals’ bullpen.
Wood, a 6-5 right-hander, was called up from Triple-A Omaha on Wednesday and Rupe was designated for assignment.
For Omaha, Wood worked 12 games in relief and posted five saves with a 2-1 record and 2.16 ERA. In 16 2/3 innings he had given up 12 hits, seven walks and four earned runs with 12 strikeouts. He pitched one scoreless inning on Tuesday night in a 10-2 victory at Reno.
Rupe was 1-1 with a 5.59 ERA in 11 games for the Royals. He was called up from Omaha on April 16 when Roman Colon was designated for assignment.
The former Texas Rangers right-hander bottomed out in Tuesday night’s game, allowing all four batters he faced to reach base. He gave up two singles and two walks to force in a run in the Royals’ 8-2 loss to the Indians. In his previous outing last Thursday night, he entered the game at Texas and promptly surrendered a two-run homer to Vladimir Guerrero.
Wood, 24, has been one of the Royals’ top pitching prospects since he was their third-round draft selection in 2006. He was a starter until late last season when, with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, he was recovering from a strained right forearm and worked out of the bullpen. He liked it and it worked so well the Royals decided to make it permanent.
Showing a heavy fastball and effective changeup, Wood had an impressive Spring Training. He appeared in seven games and had a 4.70 ERA but held batters to a .167 average. For Omaha this year, he’s been more effective against left-handed batters (.194) than against righties (.222).
Wood is from the Atlanta area and played three seasons at Georgia Tech University and reached the College World Series in 2006 as a junior.
Alex Gordon’s conversion to left field is reportedly going well and his hitting wasn’t bad either on Tuesday at Reno. He socked a first-inning home run, also singled and scored three runs and knocked in two in a 10-2 Omaha victory. On Wednesday, he went 1-for-2 in a 4-2 loss to Reno and is batting .286. That includes a 3-for-4 game on rehab prior to his current assignment. . . . . The Rockies’ Jeff Francis, on rehab with Double-A Tulsa, held Northwest Arkansas scoreless for seven innings on Tuesday but the Naturals rallied against the bullpen to win, 4-1. Their 21-10 record was the best in all of Double-A. . . . First baseman Eric Hosmer had two more hits in Single-A Wilmington’s 9-8 loss to Lynchburg. He’s batting .409 with 24 RBIs. . . . Left fielder Carlo Testa hit his third home run but Single-A Burlington lost to Cedar Rapids, 5-2. . . . Carrie Rosetti, who has helped abuse victims at Hope House for seven years, was in the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday night. She is also founder of the Kansas City Alliance Against Human Trafficking.
We’d heard that Royals games might start at 5 minutes after the hour this year but that obviously didn’t happen. It’ll still be 10 minutes after the hour for home games in 2010. The season opener at Kauffman Stadium on April 5 will have, we presume, Zack Greinke throwing the first pitch against the Tigers at 3:10 p.m. CT.
There’s just one holiday game at home this year, at 1:10 p.m. on Memorial Day, May 31, against the Angels. There’s also a 1:10 p.m. start for this year’s Saturday game against the Cardinals, set for June 26. That’ll give visiting Cardinals fans a chance to paint the town red on Saturday night. Regular start times at home will be 7:10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 6:10 p.m. Saturday and 1:10 p.m. Sunday. And, the Royals announced, no price increases this year for single-game tickets.
For Spring Training, the club will have 20 radio broadcasts starting on Thursday, March 4, against the Rangers. All the Cactus League games will be Webcast on royals.com, including those not on flagship station 610 Sports Radio. The radio voices remain the same – Denny Matthews, Bob Davis and Steve Stewart with Ryan Lefebvre from the TV crew also pitching in. Matthews will be launching his sixth decade behind the KC mike. Stewart will anchor the Webcasts. . . . The Royals are busy signing players with pitchers Dusty Hughes, Edgar Osuna and Blake Wood and catcher Manny Pina among the latest to ink their pacts. Osuna is the Rule 5 draft pick from the Braves. He’ll have to be kept on the regular-season roster or be offered back to the Braves for half the $50,000 purchase price. The Royals hope that Osuna, from Mazatlan, Mexico, will be as good an investment as their last Rule 5 pick from South of the Border, Joakim Soria. . . . Infielder Mario Lisson was the guy bumped from the 40-man roster when center fielder Rick Ankiel was signed. Lisson was designated for assignment. Earlier, the Royals dropped another infielder, Luis Hernandez. It’s possible, of course, that either or both could re-surface with Minor League deals.
— Dick Kaegel