The Royals have designated reliever Brad Boxberger for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for pitcher Eric Skoglund, who is returning from an 80-game suspension for banned substances. The team also recalled reliever Tim Hill to replace Boxberger on the active roster, and optioned Skoglund to Triple-A Omaha.
The Royals signed the 31-year old Boxberger to a one-year, $2.2 million deal last winter, a deal they will still have to pay fully unless they are able to trade Boxberger or he is claimed off waivers. He was brought in to compete for the closer’s role, having led the league in saves in 2015 with the Rays, but he struggled early, posting a 5.40 ERA in 26 2⁄3 innings with 27 strikeouts and 17 walks.
Skoglund was suspended as a first-time offender for testing positive for Ostarine and Ligandrol. He made three rehab starts with Northwest Arkansas and Omaha before his suspension ended, but with that rehab period over, he has to be activated and optioned down to continue his progress in the minors. The 26-year old lefty has a 6.03 ERA in 88 innings over the last two years for the Royals and could be up in the rotation later this year once he stretches his arm out.
Hill has pitched in six games with the Royals this year, posting a 6.75 ERA, after putting up a 4.53 ERA in 45 2⁄3 innings last year. Lefties have hit just .229/.297/.277 against him in his career. He had 2.12 ERA for Omaha in 29 2⁄3 innings with 30 strikeouts and just six walks.