For the second straight week, a former KC Royal made his Major League debut. It came on Friday, April 24th, when the Baltimore Orioles called up infielder Rey Navarro.
My first year covering the Wilmington Blue Rocks was in 2011 and Navarro was a Carolina League All-Star that season, as he hit .285 with 17 doubles, eight home runs, and 41 RBIs in 72 games before a promotion to Double-A. In winter ball back home in Puerto Rico, he was named the MVP of the postseason.
Navarro was back in NW Arkansas to start the 2012 season, hit .250, and moved up to Triple-A for the last 17 games of the season (18-for-60).
In 2013, Navarro was a Texas League All-Star, as he hit .283 with 21 doubles, 12 home runs, and 58 RBIs during the regular season with the Naturals. Navarro then helped Omaha win the Triple-A National Championship, going 11-for-26 (.423) with two doubles and five RBIs during the Storm Chasers playoff run.
However, Navarro never got a shot at the big leagues with the Royals (in four minor league seasons) and moved on to Cincinnati in 2014. With Double-A Pensacola, he was a Southern League All-Star, hitting .271 with 17 doubles and nine homers in 65 games. He moved up to Triple-A Louisville and hit .296 in 67 games, but still did not receive a callup.
Navarro received one Major League deal this offseason and that was with the Orioles. He made an impression in spring training on O’s manager Buck Showalter on defense. However, he started the minor league season on Triple-A Norfolk’s DL with a groin injury. He made his season debut on April 21st and played in just two games (3-for-7 with a double and a homer).
The O’s placed their third infielder on the DL and thus summoned Navarro to play second base. He was immediately thrust into the O’s starting lineup, starting all three games over the weekend at Camden Yards against Boston. His first Major League hit came on Friday (his first big league game), a double off Red Sox starter Rick Porcello in the 5th inning.
Navarro went 4-for-12 with two doubles, three runs scored, and an RBI.
Best of luck to Rey and hopefully he can continue to help the Orioles!