Royals designate Hernandez for assignment

DETROIT | Utility infielder Luis Hernandez was the odd man out Tuesday when the Royals needed to clear roster space for Ryan Freel.

Hernandez, 25, was designated for assignment prior to Tuesday’s game.

The Royals acquired Freel, 33, in a Monday trade from the Chicago Cubs along with cash for a player to be named later. That player, in accordance with baseball rules, will be a player not currently on the 40-man roster.

Hernandez, a switch-hitter, batted .204 with 10 hits in 49 at-bats in 22 games after arriving May 3 from Class AAA Omaha. He joined the Royals in the off-season by agreeing to a minor-league contract.

The Royals, effectively, chose to keep Tony Peña over Hernandez since adding Freel, a utilityman, made one of the two expendable. Both players are out of options. Peña carried an .091 average into Tuesday’s game but is generally viewed as the better defensive player.

The decision to designate Hernandez for assignment provides the Royals with 10 days to reach a resolution. He is likely to be sent through waivers, which permits any club to claim his contract for no compensation.

If Hernandez goes unclaimed, the Royals can release him or trade him. He could also choose to accept a minor-league assignment.