The Royals cut ties Wednesday afternoon with outfielder Mitch Maier by designating the longtime backup for assignment as part of a series of roster moves prior to their game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Center.
Right-handers Louis Coleman and Nate Adcock returned from Class AAA in an effort to bolster the bullpen for the final five games before the All-Star break. The Royals cleared one space Tuesday night by optioning right-hander Vin Mazzaro to Omaha.
Maier, 30, saw his playing time dwindle over the last two seasons despite a versatility that permitted him to play all three outfield positions. He had just 64 at-bats this season, including only nine since May 27.
The Royals chose to designate Maier rather than option either Jarrod Dyson or Jason Bourgeois to Omaha. Maier joined the organization as a first-round draft pick in 2003 and was one of the longest-tenured players in the organization.
An increasingly crowded outfield also played a factor in the decision. Center fielder Lorenzo Cain is nearing a return from an extended stay on the disabled list, and top prospect Wil Myers is make a strong push for promotion.
Maier, who played for the Wichita Wranglers in 2005 and '06, reached the big leagues in 2006 and has a .248 average over 977 at-bats in 360 career games with 10 homers and 93 RBIs. He got 341 at-bats in 2009 and 373 in 2010 before dwindling last season to just 95.
Coleman and Adcock have each shuttled this season between the Royals and Omaha. Coleman is 0-0 with a 4.91 ERA in 17 games, while Adcock is 0-3 with a 3.12 ERA in nine games.
Club officials announced the move with Mazzaro after he allowed six runs and 13 hits in Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to the Blue Jays. He had been serving as a swingman but would likely be unavailable for the next several days after throwing 79 pitches.
Royals closer Jonathan Broxton nudged his way into fourth place Wednesday morning in the Final Vote balloting to determine the final member of the American League All-Star team.
Major League Baseball did not release specific vote totals for the online balloting, which concludes at 3 p.m. Thursday Central time. Here’s the link for those interested in voting: AllStarGame.com
Texas right-hander Yu Darvish continues to lead an AL field that consists entirely of pitchers. Chicago’s Jake Peavy and Baltimore’s Jason Hammel remained second and third, but Broxton pulled ahead of Los Angeles closer Ernesto Frieri for fourth place.
St. Louis third baseman David Freese became the National League leader after Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones, the previous leader, was added to the squad as a replacement for injured Los Angeles outfielder Matt Kemp.
Washington outfielder Bryce Harper was second in the NL voting, followed by Atlanta outfielder Michael Bourn and Arizona second baseman Aaron Hill.
Bourgeois held onto his roster spot, at least for a while, by having success against left-handed pitchers since his June 27 recall from Omaha. He went seven for 16 with two walks in six games through Tuesday.
“That’s my job,” he said. “I take pride in it. I know that’s going to be, pretty much, what I do for any team – to hit left-handed pitching. So I just want to take advantage of any opportunity.”
It was 13 years ago Wednesday – July 4, 1999 – that Mike Sweeney drove in a run for the 13th consecutive game by hitting an RBI double in the fifth inning against Dave Burba in a 10-9 victory at Cleveland.
Sweeney later added an RBI walk in the ninth inning against Steve Reed for his 19th RBI in the 13-game span. Sweeney’s streak ended two days later, which meant he fell one game shy of the American League record for consecutive games with an RBI.
Hall of Fame outfielder Tris Speaker had a 14-game streak in 1928 for the Philadelphia A’s.