It seems the Royals found Kila Kaaihue’s breakthrough season too much to overlook.
Kaaihue, 24, will be among four players from Class AAA Omaha who will join the roster Tuesday as September call-ups. Major League rules allow rosters to expand in September from 25 to 40 players.
Ryan Shealy and relievers Yasuhiko Yabuta and Devon Lowery will also join the roster. Omaha completed its season Monday in 13-8 victory at Iowa.
The Royals are also likely to activate pitchers Jimmy Gobble and John Bale from the disabled list.
More moves are coming Tuesday because the Royals must clear space on their 40-man roster for Kaaihue, Lowery and Yabuta.
Kaaihue’s promotion caps a remarkable season in which he batted .314 with 38 homers and 100 RBIs in 124 games at Omaha and Class AA Northwest Arkansas. He had a .252 average in six previous professional seasons while averaging 12.7 homers and 61 RBIs.
Club officials were hesitant to promote Kaaihue because of plans to recall Shealy. Both players are first basemen, and concern existed that too few at-bats were available to make both promotions viable.
Shealy, 29, batted .282 in 111 games at Omaha with 22 homers and 65 RBIs in 111 games. He is out of options after this season.
Yabuta, 35, began the season with the Royals after signing a two-year contract as a free agent. He was optioned June 25 to Omaha after going 1-3 with a 5.46 ERA in 26 games. He was 4-3 with a 5.36 ERA in 20 appearances at Omaha.
Lowery, 25, was once viewed as one of the organization’s top prospects before his career as a starter flamed out. He retooled himself in recent years as a reliever and gained his summons by going 2-1 with a 1.87 ERA in 40 games at Omaha and Northwest Arkansas.
Checking on Gordon
Third baseman Alex Gordon is scheduled to undergo a follow-up magnetic resonance imaging exam Thursday to determine the level of healing in what is now called a torn hip flexor.
The injury was initially characterized as a torn quadriceps muscle. Gordon suffered the injury Aug. 21 while making a throw after a charging pickup on a slow grounder in Cleveland.
Gordon is currently limited to routine activities and cardiovascular work. He could begin swinging a bat later this week but isn’t likely to return for another week or more.
A’s in town
Oakland makes its only appearance of the season at Kauffman Stadium in a three-game series that opens at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday.
The teams each posted a three-game sweep in six earlier games in Oakland. The A’s dominated by a 26-8 margin April 18-20 before the Royals won three close games from July 28-30.
The six-game homestand concludes this weekend with three games against Cleveland.
Oakland plans to start three left-handers against the Royals: Gio Gonzalez, Dana Eveland and Dan Meyer. The Royals are 25-20 when an opponent starts a left-hander.
The projected pitching matchups:
Perhaps there is hope on the horizon. Three of the Royals’ four full-season affiliates are heading to postseason.
Class AA Northwest Arkansas won the second-half pennant in the Texas League North Division and opens a best-of-five series Wednesday at first-half winner Arkansas, a Rangers affiliate.
Class A Wilmington qualified as a wild card in the Carolina League North Division and begins a best-of-five series Wednesday at Potomac, which swept the first- and second-half pennants. Potomac is a Nationals’ affiliate.
Class A Burlington (Iowa) won the second-half pennant in the Midwest League Western Division and starts a best-of-three series Wednesday at home against Kane County, an A’s affiliate.