KANSAS CITY -- Manager Ned Yost wanted to give slumping first baseman Eric Hosmer, a left-handed hitter, a day off against Red Sox southpaw Jon Lester. That meant Billy Butler would move from designated hitter to first base, and Yost wanted a right-handed-hitting DH.
He found him at Triple-A Omaha: Johnny Giavotella.
Giavotella was recalled for Wednesday night's game and batted fifth as Kansas City's DH. There was a roster spot available, because the Royals put starter Jonathan Sanchez on the 15-day disabled list with left bicep tendinitis.
"We wanted another right-handed bat on our team, and Johnny's been killing the ball in Triple-A," Yost said.
Giavotella, after a slow start for Omaha, was batting .331 (44-for-133) in 31 games. He had five homers, eight doubles, 25 RBIs and 28 runs with a .408 on-base percentage.
"Numbers-wise, I started a little slow," Giavotella said, "but I was actually swinging the bat real well. I was just hitting the ball right at people. Those things happen in baseball. Luckily over the past few weeks, balls have been falling and I've started to get hot."
Last season, Giavotella was called up on Aug. 5 and became the Royals' regular second baseman. That won't happen this time around; he'll share second base with Chris Getz.
"He'll play against left-handers and be a bat off the bench," Yost said. "We like what Getzy's doing at second base."
Hosmer, in a 1-for-16 slide and batting just .181, actually will get two days off because Thursday is an open date.
Third baseman Mike Moustakas, despite batting .311, was also out of the starting lineup, but not because he also is a left-handed hitter.
"Moose has kind of been hampered with a little hamstring soreness, so two days for him was a good time," Yost said.
Backup infielder Irving Falu was stationed at third base. With Moustakas also out of the lineup, it put six right-handed batters against Lester, including switch-hitters Falu and Brayan Pena.
Giavotella was sent to Omaha toward the end of Spring Training as Yost decided to go with Getz and Yuniesky Betancourt at second base. Betancourt is currently on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle.
Following knee surgery, Perez making strides
KANSAS CITY -- Salvador Perez, the Royals' catcher-in-waiting, will celebrate his 22nd birthday on Thursday. He's already had a nice present: His surgically repaired left knee is doing well.
"It's good, it's perfect," he said.
Injured during Spring Training, Perez is due for another extensive checkup at the 10-week mark from surgery, which comes in three weeks. He's not expected to be playing again until around the All-Star break in July.
At the moment, he's able to do some throwing and is hitting some flipped tosses in the batting cage. Perez isn't running yet, though. He's traveling with the team as he continues to recuperate.
Any special plans for his birthday?
"I'm going to take a flight for Chicago and that's it," he said.
McClure enjoying tenure with Red Sox
KANSAS CITY -- Bob McClure was in a quandary. His wife, Shirley, had just given birth to twin sons. The Red Sox wondered if he'd like to be their pitching coach.
McClure wanted to help Shirley at home with Teddy and Brock, who were born on Dec. 30, so he told the Red Sox no.
"Mostly because the babies were just born," McClure said. "Was I interested in becoming the Boston Red Sox's pitching coach? Are you kidding? That chance only comes up once in a lifetime. It was just kind of funny timing."
McClure, dismissed after six years as Kansas City's pitching coach, had joined the Red Sox to do some scouting for vice president/player personnel Allard Baird, the Royals' former general manager who'd brought him to Kansas City. McClure could do that out of his Stuart, Fla., home, but the Red Sox needed a pitching coach.
"After talking it over with my wife Shirley, she said, 'We'll work it out with the kids,'" McClure said.
So he told Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington he'd take the job. Although McClure, 60, never played for Boston in his 19-year big league career, he felt an attachment to the city. His mother, who now lives in San Francisco, was from Boston and he has a sister living there.
When McClure asked his mother if he should take the job, her answer was emphatic
"Are you nuts?," she said. "This is the Boston Red Sox!"
Shirley and the twins spent part of Spring Training with him in Florida and they were with him during the Red Sox series at Kauffman Stadium.
Although he barely knew manager Bobby Valentine, McClure is thoroughly enjoying being on his staff. McClure is Boston's third pitching coach in the past three years, so he's still learning about the pitchers and earning their trust.
"You have Jon Lester and [Josh] Beckett and [Clay] Buchholz and these two kids, [Felix] Doubront and [Daniel] Bard," said McClure. "As far as the rotation goes, it's a joy. And the bullpen's been fabulous, like unbelievable."
And so are Shirley and the twins, said the proud pop.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.