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Royals to call up Bubba Starling

It’s Bubba time!

Bubba Starling high fives a teammate
Minda Haas Kuhlmann

The Royals have purchased the contract of outfielder Bubba Starling from Triple-A Omaha for tomorrow’s game against the Tigers. No corresponding move has been announced. The Royals would also have to make a 40-man roster move by tomorrow’s game.

The 26-year old Starling was hitting .310/.358/.448 with seven home runs and nine stolen bases in 72 games for Omaha. He participated in the Triple-A All-Star Game this week.

It has been a long, winding road to the big leagues for the hometown kid from Gardner-Edgerton High School in the Kansas City area. Starling was selected fifth overall in the 2011 draft as a five-tool player with great speed, power, and a strong arm. He performed well in rookie ball that year, but struggled at higher levels and was plagued with a high strikeout rate and later, injuries that derailed his career. He missed much of last year with an oblique injury, and when he returned, he soon disclocated his finger in a freak accident getting out of bed that cost him the rest of the season.

Starling was taken off the 40-man roster last winter and was a free agent available for anyone to sign. He re-signed with the Royals on a minor league deal and had an impressive spring training that put him back on the radar.

Starling’s defense has long been said to be “Major League ready” so he should be able to continue to provide solid defense in center, and provide the opportunity for more offensive upside than Billy Hamilton in centerfield. Starling is out of options, so if the Royals wanted to return him to the minors, he would have to pass through waivers.