CLEVELAND -- The Royals shuffled a pair of bullpen arms on Wednesday, as they optioned reliever Jeremy Jeffress to Triple-A Omaha and recalled southpaw Tommy Hottovy.
On Wednesday, Indians manager Manny Acta penciled in only two right-handed hitters in his lineup. The addition of Hottovy gives the Royals another option to counter the abundance of lefties and switch-hitters in Cleveland's order.
"It gives us another option and balances our 'pen out," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We have three lefties, three righties and a closer."
Hottovy, 30, was a fourth-round pick by the Red Sox in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. He appeared in eight games for Boston last season, his first in the big leagues.
"It's always kind of a surprise when you get the opportunity," Hottovy said. "I was throwing well. I knew that if I took care of business and kept working on what I needed to do, the opportunity would come. This early in the season, you just never know. I'm excited to be here to help the team in any way that I can. I'm just looking forward to getting out there and getting rolling."
In seven appearances with Omaha, Hottovy went 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA. Jeffress had appeared in just two games with Kansas City, tossing one scoreless inning.
Royals aim to improve on offense with RISP
CLEVELAND -- The Royals remain steadfast in their belief that their fortunes will soon change. The team entered Wednesday's contest riding a 12-game losing streak, despite dropping eight of those contests by two runs or fewer.
Timely hits can often make the difference, and Kansas City finally excelled in that area on Tuesday. The Royals went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position in Monday's 4-1 loss to Toronto, which capped a 9-for-60 (.150 average) stretch with runners in scoring position.
In Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Indians, the Royals notched four hits in 13 at-bats (.308 average) with runners in scoring position.
"We're going out there and we're playing the game the right way. It's just not falling our way right now," said third baseman Mike Moustakas. "We need those hits. We'll get those eventually. It's a long season, but we're going out there every day playing hard. We're going out there and giving ourselves a chance to win every game. I think that's the more frustrating thing."
Royals manager Ned Yost has warned his players against trying too hard in high-pressure situations. Kansas City stranded 11 runners in Tuesday's loss.
"We're trying to get them to try easier right now. If you look at our numbers, we're actually swinging the bats pretty well with nobody on base. But when we get guys on base, our numbers drop pretty dramatically. It's just a case where they're pressing a little too much. Once they can relax a little bit and get over that, everything is going to fall in line."
Cain has setback during rehab game
CLEVELAND -- Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain suffered a setback in his rehab assignment, and his latest injury could extend his stay on the disabled list.
Already on the 15-day DL with a left groin strain, Cain injured his hip flexor during a game Tuesday night with Double-A Northwest Arkansas. The Royals had originally expected Cain to return to the club on Friday. That now appears to be wishful thinking, though manager Ned Yost will not speculate until he receives an update from the team doctors.
"He has to fly back to Kansas City and have it re-evaluated by our doctors," Yost said. "It was in a different spot. It was a hip flexor, it wasn't in the groin like it was before. We'll just see what the doctor says and go from there.
Cain hasn't played since April 10. In five games, he hit .133. Mitch Maier and Jason Bourgeois have filled in for the speedy center fielder, batting .267 and .214, respectively. Maier had three hits and two RBIs in Tuesday's 4-3 loss to Cleveland.
"I've got confidence in Mitch Maier and Jason Bourgeois," Yost said. "I don't point to that as the reason we've lost 12 in a row. We lost him right before this streak started, but I don't think it has any significance. He was hitting [.133] and playing great defense in the outfield."