Royals put Waechter on disabled list, request release waivers on Freel

MINNEAPOLIS | Doug Waechter’s lost season continued Thursday when he returned to the disabled list because of a strained right shoulder. He made just two appearances after missing 3½ months because of a strained elbow and a strained left oblique.

Waechter also missed time in spring training because of a finger blister and has pitched in only five games this season after signing last December with the Royals as a free agent for $640,000.

“It was a classic case of a player trying to battle through something,” manager Trey Hillman said. “He had some soreness (in his shoulder) but kept doing side sessions. Doug is not an excuse-maker. He genuinely thought he could throw through it.”

The move cleared space for Gil Meche’s return from the disabled list and came two days after Waechter retired just one of six batters while allowing three runs to the Twins. Meche started Thursday’s game against Minnesota.

“I don’t put (Waechter) in a category of being selfish,” Hillman said. “I put it in a category of a guy trying to go out there and earn his money _ and trying to help a team that has been scuffling out of the bullpen. Obviously, from his performance the other night, it just wasn’t working.”

Waechter, 28, returned Thursday to Kansas City for further evaluation. He has pitched just 5 1/3 innings, while allowing five runs, nine hits and three walks.

“He’s had a rash of misfortune,” Hillman said. “I’d like to have seen the guy who we signed, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen that.”

* The Royals requested unconditional release waivers on utilityman Ryan Freel, who was designated for assignment Aug. 5 after batting .244 in 18 games. He joined the club in a July 6 trade with the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later.