The Royals placed second baseman Mark Grudzielanek on the 15-day disabled list before Saturday’s game against the Chicago White Sox because of a severely sprained right ankle.
Grudzielanek suffered the injury in the ninth inning of Friday’s 4-2 loss to the White Sox at Kauffman Stadium. He collided with first baseman Ross Gload while chasing down a pop-up by Juan Uribe in short right field.
The Royals replaced Grudzielanek by purchasing the contract of infielder Jason Smith from Class AAA Omaha. The club cleared space for Smith on its 40-man roster by designating reliever Yasuhiko Yabuta for assignment. Smith, 31, compiled a .222 average in 235 games while spending parts of the seven previous seasons in the big leagues. He batted .188 last season for the Royals in 40 games.
Smith was batting .253 in 110 games at Omaha with 20 homers and 62 RBIs. He was the O-Royals’ representative in the Class AAA All-Star Game.
The Royals signed Yabuta, 35, to a two-year deal last November in hopes that he could fill a major role in the bullpen. He was optioned to Omaha on June 25 after compiling a 5.46 ERA in 26 appearances. Yabuta had a 5.40 ERA in 12 outings for the O-Royals.
Grudzielanek, 38, is batting .299 with three homers and 24 RBIs in 86 games.