Top Prospects: Will Smith, LHP, Royals

NEW YORK -- Yankee Stadium? Heck, Will Smith had never even been to New York before. Now he's in the Bronx and at the Stadium, and he'll make his Major League debut on Wednesday night against the game's most fabled franchise.

Smith was named to start the series finale for the Royals instead of Luis Mendoza, who will once again assume the role of long man in the bullpen. Smith will be opposed by Yankees veteran Andy Pettitte, who is 17 years older than Smith and 491 Major League games ahead of the left-hander.

"I'll probably be a little nervous; how can I not be?" Smith said. "It's something you've been working for your whole life, and it's finally here. And it's in Yankee Stadium against the Yankees."

Needing pitching depth, the Royals called up Smith -- rated their No. 15 prospect by MLB.com entering the season -- from Triple-A Omaha on Tuesday.

At the same time, the club placed second baseman Chris Getz on the 15-day disabled list with a left ribcage bruise, an injury he aggravated during Monday night's 6-0 victory over the Yankees. The move gives the Royals a 13-man pitching staff.

Smith had a 1-3 record and a 4.01 ERA in nine starts this year for the Omaha Storm Chasers. He got the nod over two other promising lefties, Mike Montgomery and Ryan Verdugo.

"We want to see what Will Smith can do," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "His numbers aren't, like, eye-popping, but he's been throwing better. He developed a slider last year, and he's starting to put it all together. He's got a lot of maturity and composure."

Last season, Smith was 13-9 with a 3.85 ERA in 27 starts for Double-A Northwest Arkansas and was named the Naturals' Pitcher of the Year. The development of a slider was a major step for him.

"That gave me another pitch for left-handed batters," Smith said. "Now I've got a curveball and a slider, and that's really opened things up for me."

The 6-foot-5, 22-year-old Smith was obtained from the Angels with pitcher Sean O'Sullivan on July 22, 2010, in exchange for third baseman Alberto Callaspo.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Smith, the Royals placed pitcher Blake Wood on the 60-day disabled list. Wood is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

Smith got the good news after Omaha's 4-2 loss to Salt Lake on Monday night at home.

"We played our game and were all out eating the spread, and [manager Mike Jirschele] called me in, asked me how I felt," Smith said. "I said I felt fine and he said, 'You're going up.' And that was it.

"He shook my hand, gave me a hug and [pitching coach Doug Henry] did the same. And I was out of there."

Royals to platoon Falu, Giavotella at second

NEW YORK -- Irving Falu and Johnny Giavotella will platoon at second base while Chris Getz recuperates, Royals manager Ned Yost said Tuesday.

Getz aggravated an injury in his left ribcage with a slide on Monday night and was placed on the 15-day disabled list before Tuesday's game against the Yankees. Getz was originally injured last Wednesday night during a collision with Orioles baserunner Chris Davis.

"I'm not great with the terms, but it's intercostal cartilage," Getz said. "The stuff in between ribs four and five is inflamed -- it's not torn -- along with bone contusions on both of those ribs. That's the part that's painful for the breathing."

Getz underwent an MRI exam on Tuesday after the pain increased. Fortunately, there was no rib fracture and no cartilage tear.

"I'd say, in terms of grades of pain, it's twice as bad as it was," Getz said. "If I did it again, it'd probably be worse again, so it's just a bad cycle of events."

Getz won't do anything for a few days before getting back into baseball activities, then he'll go to the Minor Leagues on an injury rehab assignment to get some at-bats. He was batting .277 in 30 games.

Falu, a switch-hitter, will play against right-handed pitchers and Giavotella, a right-handed hitter, will face lefties. Falu, batting .419 through eight games, started on Tuesday night.

"He's been fantastic," Yost said of Falu. "He makes all the plays, swings the bat well from both sides of the plate."

Paulino never intimidated by an opponent

NEW YORK -- Felipe Paulino's buddies are calling him the "Yankee eater."

Paulino has certainly feasted on the Yankees this year, holding them scoreless for a total of 12 2/3 innings in two victories for the Royals. He's just the second Kansas City pitcher since 1995 to beat the Yankees twice in the same season; the other was Kyle Davies in 2010.

"It's nice to beat the Yankees," Paulino said. "Yankees are Yankees everywhere. It's the team everybody's talking about. But, for me, the Yankees are like any other team. I say to myself, 'Anybody coming to the plate with a bat is dangerous.' So I try to treat them like any other team -- go to the mound and compete and try to give the Royals a chance to win the game."

On Monday night, Paulino worked his way around several threats, and the Yankees were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position while the right-hander was on the mound.

"He's been throwing well for them," said the Yankees' Derek Jeter. He throws hard and mixes it up. I feel like I'm saying the same thing about every pitcher we've faced lately."