The Royals have activated outfielder Drew Waters after he missed the first eight weeks with an oblique injury. Yesterday, the Royals optioned outfielder Nate Eaton to Triple-A Omaha to make room on the roster. Waters is in the starting lineup tonight, hitting ninth in cetnerfield.
The 24-year old went into this season hoping to compete for a starting outfield job, but suffered a setback when he was injured early in spring training. The switch-hitter was once a top prospect with the Braves who had failed to live up to his potential, but seemed to find his stroke once he moved over the Royals in a trade with two other players in exchange for the 35th pick in last year’s draft. In 32 games with the Royals last year, Waters hit .240/.324/.479 with five home runs.
Waters does have a lot of swing-and-miss to his game, but he can draw some walks and has a good power/speed combo. He is a capable defender in center, giving the Royals an upgrade over veteran Jackie Bradley Jr. while Kyle Isbel is out with injury. During his 13-game rehab assignment in Omaha, Waters hit .327/.396/.635 with two home runs in 58 plate appearances.
Eaton has been up and down a few times with the Royals, but has really struggled with the bat, going 3-for-52 (.058) with 21 strikeouts.