The Royals have optioned second baseman Raul Mondesi and outfielder Paulo Orlando to AAA Omaha and have called up outfielder Jorge Bonifacio and pitcher Matt Strahm. Mondesi was a surprising to make the Opening Day roster, but his good numbers in spring training and elite speed and defense convinced the Royals to carry him. He struggled mightily, however, hitting just .103/.167/.179 in 46 plate appearances, striking out 35% of the time. The 21-year old hit just .185 in 47 games for the Royals last year.
Paulo Orlando was coming off his best season, hitting .302/.329/.405 in 128 games last year, but was in a terrible slump to start this season. In 50 plate appearances, he was hitting just .149/.184/.149 with a 30% strikeout rate.
It was reported this morning that Bonifacio would be called up to help the roster. The 23-year old right-handed hitter was batting .304/.385/.587 with three home runs in 12 games for Omaha. With Orlando’s demotion, Bonifacio presumably will be the regular starter in right field. He likely won’t have the range Orlando possessed, but the Royals will be looking for his bat to be an upgrade. Jorge Soler will begin his rehab assignment tonight, although there does not appear to be a timetable for him.
Jorge Soler will begin his rehab assignment with Omaha tonight. #Royals— Josh Vernier (@JoshVernier610) April 21, 2017
Whit Merrifield presumably becomes the regular second baseman, although Christian Colon could be in the mix for more playing time as well. The move leaves the Royals without a true backup centerfielder to Lorenzo Cain, although Alex Gordon experimented with playing the position in spring training, and utility player Whit Merrifield has some minor league experience there.
The moves were made with offense in mind, after the Royals failed to score a run for 13 innings in a loss to the Rangers on Thursday night, going 4-for-41 at the plate. The Royals have scored just seven runs in their last 50 innings of baseball, and are dead last in all of baseball in runs scored.
Matt Strahm returns after being demoted to Omaha on April 11 after giving up seven runs in 1 1⁄3 innings. He said he needed to work out mechanical issues in the minors that was leading to a high walk rate. He pitched well in Omaha, tossing five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and no walks.