Catcher Brayan Peña didn't stick around long.
The Royals designated Peña for assignment Saturday — one day after claiming him on waivers from Atlanta — in order to clear roster space for pitcher Kyle Davies, who started Saturday's game against Cleveland.
The move clears the way for the Royals to send Peña through waivers in the hopes that he will go unclaimed and can, therefore, be outrighted to the minors.
“We'd like to hold onto him,” general manager Dayton Moore said. “It's a chance to add depth to the catching position in our organization.”
Peña, 26, was used strictly this season as a pinch-hitter for Atlanta and had four hits in 14 at-bats. He has a .228 average in 127 at-bats over the last four seasons. He also has a .314 average in 491 minor-league games over the last seven seasons since defecting from Cuba.
Davies, 24, earned his return to the big leagues by going 6-2 with a 2.06 ERA in 10 starts at Class AAA Omaha. He was 3-7 with a 6.66 ERA in 11 starts last season for the Royals after arriving from Atlanta in a July 31 trade for reliever Octavio Dotel.
“Going to the minors,” Davies said, “was a tough pill to swallow. But coming into spring, I didn't throw the ball like I knew I should.
“Once I got to Omaha, it happened pretty quickly. I saw all the guys, and it was like, `Let's get this thing rolling.' I got to where I was pitching pretty well.”
The Royals, in designating Peña for assignment, have 10 days to send him through waivers, trade him or release him. The move leaves the Royals with 39 players on their 40-man organizational roster.
David DeJesus rebounded from his costly base-running mistake in Friday's loss by going two for four with a homer and an RBI double. His homer erased a 1-0 deficit in the third, and his double highlighted a three-run fifth.
“Just to make it 1-1,” he said, “it was like, `All right, we're back in it.' You know, it's a team game. We had a tough loss Friday, and we all felt bad.”
Even so, DeJesus blamed himself for Friday's 5-4 loss after over-running second base in the sixth inning on Esteban German's two-out single and getting tagged out before Joey Gathright could cross the plate with the tying run.
“It's a new day,” DeJesus said before the game. “I can't harp on it. I'm not a harper.”
His homer in the third inning was the first by a Royal to leave the playing field in 80 innings _ dating to Miguel Olivo's three-run shot in the eighth inning on May 22 at Boston.
Mark Teahen had an inside-the-park homer in Tuesday's loss to the Twins.
Tomko's new role
Veteran right-hander Brett Tomko, who was loser Friday in relief, is still fighting through the disappointment of losing his slot in the rotation. He was shipped the bullpen late last week after going 2-6 with a 6.17 ERA in 10 starts.
“It's tough,” he said. “It's not fun to lose your job. You have to swallow a little pride and do something a little different. You do what you have to do.
“They want me to do that. I'll do it, and I'll do it the best I can.”
Plans call for Tomko to help replace injured Leo Nuñez as a late-inning setup reliever for closer Joakim Soria.
“We feel like Brett can still be of value,” manager Trey Hillman said, “but we felt (10) starts was a fair assessment. He was just unable to make the adjustments consistently as a starter that we had hoped and projected that he would (make). It didn't happen.”
Butler at Omaha
Billy Butler went three for five in Omaha's 13-9 victory at Oklahoma. He is now four for 11 in three games since being optioned Thursday to the O-Royals in the wake of an extended slump that dropped his big-league average to .263.
The decision to demote only Butler among so many struggling players points somewhat to the limitations confronting club officials on possible roster moves.
“Billy was one of a small set of position players that we have the available options for,” Hillman said. “That does play into it. But as far as Billy Butler being a scapegoat — that's certainly not the situation.”
Players generally have three option years in which they can be sent to the minors without clearing waivers. There is no limit to the number of times a player can be “optioned” to the minors during an option year.
So who else could have been sent down?
These players on the 25-man roster have options remaining: Brian Bannister, Davies, DeJesus, Alex Gordon, Zack Greinke, Luke Hochevar, Joel Peralta, Joakim Soria, Mark Teahen and Yasuhiko Yabuta.