KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Right-hander Aaron Crow said he took the news of his demotion in stride when Royals manager Ned Yost said he was the pitcher chosen to be optioned to make room for emergency starter Liam Hendriks on Wednesday.
Crow had never been sent to the minors during his four-year career in the bigs.
"It’s a little weird," Crow said. "But I knew it was possible. I had options left. Greg (Holland) had options. Kelvin (Herrera) had options. But they weren’t going to send those guys out, so I was the guy."
And the move is really only temporary.
Normally a player optioned to the minors must remain there for 10 days. But players also can return to the big leagues if that minor-league team’s season ends.
That is why the Royals sent Crow to Double-A Northwest Arkansas — the Naturals won’t make the playoffs and their season ends Monday. Triple-A Omaha could make the playoffs.
This way Crow will return to the Royals on Tuesday.
"That’s the way I understand it," Crow said. "You just deal with it the best you can. I’ll be fine."
The Royals engineered a similar maneuver last year at this time when they optioned Wade Davis to Class A Wilmington. Davis returned after Wilmington’s regular season ended.
Also, Crow remains eligible to be on the postseason roster. A new rule stipulates that anyone on the 40-man roster (not the 25-man) by Aug. 31 is eligible for the postseason roster.
"We wouldn’t have done this if he wasn’t going to be eligible," Yost said.
So, Crow will report to Northwest Arkansas on Friday and pitch that night as well as on Sunday, he said.
Crow has endured another up-and-down season, posting a 3.86 ERA and a high WHIP of 1.305. Last season he lost his setup role in late August and was barely used down the stretch.
The primary culprit for Crow’s struggles earlier was a decrease in velocity on his fastball by two or three mph. Crow said he feels like his fastball has more life lately after a mechanical adjustment to his delivery.
"The last couple of times it’s been better," he said. "I’m staying back to the rubber more and getting more power behind my delivery.
"Arm feels fine. Back and legs feel fine. So it was just the mechanics being off a little."
Crow will use his two outings in Double A to continue to work on those mechanics.
"You can’t get mad about this (demotion)," he said. "You just do your job and try to get better.