The Royals have activated Kyle Isbel from the Injured List, having already optioned Nate Eaton to Triple-A Omaha yesterday. Isbel had been out since May 4 with a hamstring injury. He is in the starting lineup tonight batting fifth and playing centerfield.
Isbel’s return moves Drew Waters to right field with MJ Melendez to left. Despite the missed time, Isbel is tied for fifth among all centerfielders in Defensive Runs Saved. Last year, Isbel led the Majors in outfield jumps, but Waters is among the leaders this year. While Isbel has fared well defensively, his bat has continued to struggle. In 26 games this year, he is hitting .209/.250/.352, although he has ten extra base hits. In 160 career MLB games, he is a .222/.274/.359 hitter.
Eaton was optioned down for the fourth time yesterday. A new MLB rule limits players to being optioned down five times before they are exposed to outright assignment waivers. Eaton brings good speed and a tremendous arm, but he has looked overmatched at the plate, going 4-for-53 (.075) with 21 strikeouts.
The Royals should also get pitcher Amir Garrett back soon, he begun a rehab assignment with Omaha last Thursday. The lefty has been out since May 29 with an elbow injury.