Friday was a busy day in the KC Royals minor league farm system, as there were MANY moves.
First, the return of lefty Kyle Bartsch, who was traded to San Diego for Reymond Fuentes in November of 2014.
Bartsch struggled last season in a return to High-A, though it was in the hitter-friendly California League (.334 opponents batting average and 23 walks in 72.1 innings). He moved up to Double-A San Antonio this season, but allowed 32 hits and walked ten in just 17.1 innings before being released earlier this week.
It’s good to have Bartsch back and hopefully a reunion with pitching coach Steve Luebber at Double-A NW Arkansas will get the personable lefty back on track.
NWA had been playing with just five relievers and it showed a bit this week. They received some reinforcements with lefty Tim Hill joining the team from Wilmington yesterday (and pitching a scoreless inning last night), the signing of Bartsch, and right-hander Evan Beal joining the team from Triple-A Omaha today.
To make room for Bartsch and Beal, catcher Allan de San Miguel and tonight’s starter Pedro Fernandez were “sent” to rookie ball. I get the de San Miguel move because the Naturals really do not need four catchers (first baseman Frank Schwindel can also catch), but pulling that night’s starter????
The Naturals will have one more roster move to make, as right-hander Ashton Goudeau, tomorrow night’s scheduled starter for Wilmington, was promoted. Goudeau would give them 26 players.
Omaha will also need some pitching help, as they have just ten pitchers (though Mike Minor is making a rehab start tonight). The Storm Chasers have just 22 players and Fuentes had left the team for personal reasons.
Wilmington, who finally got to a full pitching staff only to have Hill promoted, received two pitchers today. One is right-hander Corey Ray from Lexington, who pitched seven innings in Wednesday’s start for the Legends (meaning he cannot pitch until Monday). The other is the return of lefty Luis Rico, who was rehabbing in extended spring. Rico spent the entire 2015 season with the Blue Rocks, shifting from the rotation to the bullpen at the end of the season.
So now the Blue Rocks need a starting pitcher for Saturday night (weather permitting).
Lexington was rained out tonight but have yet to make a roster move to replace Ray.