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Royals option Jorge Soler to AAA Omaha, recall Billy Burns

It was a move a long time coming.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Before Saturday afternoon’s game, the Kansas City Royals optioned right-handed outfielder Jorge Soler to AAA Omaha, recalling right-handed outfielder Billy Burns to take his roster spot in Kansas City. Soler had functionally been replaced in the lineup by rookie Jorge Bonifacio, a fellow right-handed corner outfielder who has been hitting very well over the past weeks. Soler had only started one game since May 23, only playing in two. The desire to get Soler regular plate appearances was an important reasoning in his demotion.

As Kansas City Star Royals beat writer Rustin Dodd notes, the Royals will be playing five games in a National League park next week. As it stands, the Royals’ bench lacks a true backup centerfielder or pinch runner, and Burns, a speedy natural center fielder, fills those particular roster holes. The 27 year-old outfielder had spent all of this season in AAA Omaha, playing a variety of outfield positions and posting a .651 OPS (on base plus slugging).

Soler was acquired in the offseason from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for closer Wade Davis. Soler made his Kansas City Royals debut on May 6 after suffering an oblique injury in spring training. In his 65 plate appearances with the Royals, he posted an underwhelming .164/.292/.273 triple slash, hitting only one home run en route to a significantly below-average .565 OPS. Davis has a 0.93 ERA and 11 saves out of 11 chances in 20 appearances out of the Cubs bullpen.