Notes: Another day, another roster move
Nunez sent down to Triple-A Omaha, Braun called back up
BOSTON -- Just like that, Leo Nunez is gone and Ryan Braun is back.
Those were Wednesday's changes on the Royals' ever-shifting roster.
Nunez, after his spot start against Boston on Tuesday night, was optioned to Triple-A Omaha, from whence he came. Braun, a reliever, was summoned from the same club.
It was the 10th player move for the Royals in the last five days.
This is right-hander Braun's third go-round with the Royals this season. In his last 11 games for Omaha, he did not permit a run in 16 2/3 innings. In that scoreless span, he gave up just seven hits and four walks while ringing up 16 strikeouts, two victories and four saves.
In effect, he'll take Neal Musser's spot in the 'pen. Musser was optioned to Omaha on Tuesday to make room, temporarily, for Nunez.
For the season with Omaha, Braun has a 1.26 ERA, a 2-2 record and seven saves in 21 games.
Braun suspected something was up during Tuesday night's game at Albuquerque. After Richard Lewis hit a three-run homer to give Omaha a 6-5 lead in the ninth, Braun was not summoned to go for the save.
"I knew something was crazy," Braun said. "I'm about to start chucking balls, but the phone doesn't ring, so I thought something was up."
Braun was told after the game to pack for Boston, as he was joining the Royals. He had to catch a 6 a.m. flight in Albuquerque to make connections to Boston.
"It was worth it," he said. "You don't get to Fenway every day."
Change of routine: Gil Meche vowed to change his between-starts routine after a second straight fadeout following three strong innings.
He has gone back to throwing a bullpen session between starts, a routine he had dropped before the All-Star break. In addition, he's eliminating long-toss throwing before his bullpens and games to conserve some arm strength.
"It feels like I'm losing too much after the first three innings," Meche said. "Then I try to do too much and start leaving the ball up."
Pitching coach Bob McClure noticed that abrupt falloff.
"Yeah, he just died," McClure said. "Even when you don't feel like it, you still have to make your good pitches. And I'm sure he will."
The Royals will find out on Friday night, when Meche starts the first game in Detroit.
Bunts: Billy Butler made his first start at first base on Wednesday night against the Red Sox. "I wanted to do it with [Odalis] Perez pitching and not a lot of left-handed hitters in the lineup," manager Buddy Bell said. That meant that Butler was less likely to have ground balls hit his way. ... Mark Teahen's 12th outfield assist on Tuesday night left him still second to Minnesota's Michael Cuddyer (15). ... The rough road trip continued for shortstop Tony Pena Jr., who has 15 errors in away games, compared with just one at home. ... By reaching their 40th win on Tuesday night, the Royals attained that plateau in their 93rd game; last year No. 40 didn't come until Aug. 9, in the 113th game. ... Pitcher Jimmy Gobble will mark his 26th birthday on Thursday. ... On this date in 1986, manager Dick Howser, diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, was replaced by interim manager Mike Ferraro.
Royals rundown: Lewis' homer off ex-Royal Nate Field was the game-winner on Tuesday at Albuquerque, but Craig Brazell also banged his 32nd in a 6-5 Omaha win. Brazell (.318) has 25 homers and 54 RBIs for Omaha. ... Left fielder Jorge Padilla (.356) hit a three-run homer, but Double-A Wichita lost to Arkansas, 9-6. ... Shortstop Joshua Johnson hit his first homer in Class A Wilmington's 11-inning, 5-4 loss to Myrtle Beach. ... Benjamin Norton, who had a 0.41 ERA previously, didn't retire a batter and gave up six runs on six hits as Advanced Rookie Idaho Falls lost to Missoula, 11-6.
Coming up: The Royals have an off-day on Thursday before they open a three-game series in Detroit at 6:05 p.m. CT on Friday. Meche is matched against the Tigers' Kenny Rogers (3-1, 2.82).
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.