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Notes: Gotay makes debut08/03/2004 8:50 PM ET
By Alan Eskew / Special to MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- Tony Graffanino went on the disabled list Tuesday for the second time this season with an injury to his left knee, and the Royals purchasd the contract of switch-hitting second base prospect Ruben Gotay from Double-A Wichita to replace him on the roster. Trainer Nick Swartz said Graffanino would probably be out four-to-six weeks with a partial tear in the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, but that no surgery would be required. Graffanino missed nearly a month of the season earlier when he needed surgery to repair a left knee meniscus tear in early May. Swartz said there is "no correlation between the two injuries." Graffanino had hit .263 in 75 games, starting 72 at second base. Manager Tony Pena wasted no time getting Gotay, a 22-year-old switch-hitter, into the lineup, starting him at second and batting him ninth against the White Sox in Tuesday's series opener. "If we're going to bring up any young prospect from the minor leagues, he must play," Pena said. "He's not going to sit on the bench. We have to play him just to see what we've got." Gotay, who was a member of the World Team at the Futures Game last month, was hitting .290 with Wichita. He was leading the Wranglers in several offensive categories: 117 hits, 71 runs, 68 RBIs, 178 total bases, 22 doubles, six triples, 51 walks, nine sacrifice bunts and a .373 on-base percentage. "Hopefully, this kid can do what he's been doing in the minors," Pena said. Gotay was a 31st-round draft-and-follow pick in 2000 and signed in 2001 out of Indian Hills (Iowa) Community College. He entered this season with a .279 batting average in his first three minor league seasons. "Defensively, he is coming around," Pena said. "He made so much progress around the bag and turning the double play." Gotay had an excellent tutor at Wichita, which is managed by eight-time second base Gold Glove-winner Frank White. "One of the people I want to say thanks to today is Frank White," Gotay said. "He is why I'm here. I learned a lot from him. He used to play my position." What did White teach Gotay about defense? "Everything," Gotay replied. "The main thing was turning the double play. Another thing was how to position myself on ground balls. I improved a lot this year." Gotay, who is a native of Puerto Rico, said he learned he was coming to the majors about 1 a.m. CT on Tuesday after the Wranglers' had lost at Frisco (Texas). "I was back in my hotel room and Frank White called me and asked me to come to his room," Gotay said. "I was surprised. This is probably the happiest day of my life. This is what I've been dreaming." Gotay, 21, said he called his parents in Puerto Rico and a close friend after learning of his promotion. "After that I couldn't go back to sleep, just thinking about it," Gotay said.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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