Royals calling up Johnny Giavotella … for a part-time role


Last week when Yuniesky Betancourt got hurt and the Royals replaced him with career minor leaguer Irving Falu rather than 24-year-old prospect Johnny Giavotella it seemed … well, let’s be nice and say odd.

And now Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that the Royals have decided to call up Giavotella after all–apparently that extra week at Triple-A really did wonders for him–but they’re not doing so with the intention of actually playing him every day. You know, because that would make too much sense.

Instead, according to Dutton, he’s being called up to serve mostly as a platoon player versus left-handed pitching. Giavotella is a 24-year-old prospect who’s hit .331 at Triple-A this season after hitting .338 there last season, and yet the Royals would rather give the bulk of the playing time to 28-year-old Chris Getz and his .630 career OPS.

In completely unrelated news, Kansas City is 10-19.

UPDATE: To make room for Giavotella on the roster the Royals placed Jonathan Sanchez on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis.

Madison Bumgarner diagnosed with fractured left hand

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Giants ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner sustained a displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal of his left hand on Friday. He’ll undergo surgery on Saturday to insert pins in his pinky knuckle, a procedure that could require a four- to six-week recovery period before he’s cleared to throw again. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Bumgarner’s total recovery time is expected to take 6-8 weeks. In a best-case scenario, the lefty said he should be able to pitch again before the All-Star break, but given the amount of time and care it’ll take for him to shoulder a full workload, it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to do so.

Bumgarner suffered the fracture during the third inning of Friday’s Cactus League game against the Royals. Whit Merrifield returned a line drive up the middle and the ball deflected off the top of Bumgarner’s pitching hand before bouncing into the infield. He chased after the ball but was unable to pick it up, and was immediately visited by manager Bruce Bochy and a team trainer before exiting the game.

The 28-year-old southpaw was gearing up for a massive comeback after losing significant playing time with an injury in 2017. During his tumultuous run with the Giants last year, he missed nearly three months on the disabled list after spraining his shoulder and bruising his ribs in a dirt bike accident. He finished the season with a 4-9 record in 17 starts and a 3.32 ERA (his first 3.00+ ERA since 2012), 1.6 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 111 innings. Without him, the Giants suffered as well; by season’s end, their pitching staff ranked seventh-worst in the National League with a cumulative 4.58 ERA and 10.1 fWAR.

This is the second massive injury the Giants’ rotation has sustained this week after right-hander Jeff Samardzija was diagnosed with a strained pectoral muscle on Thursday. “Horrible news for us,” Bochy told reporters after Friday’s game. “That’s all you can say about it. There’s nothing you can do but push on.”