KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Less than 24 hours after infielder Elliot Johnson made a crucial error that allowed two unearned runs in a 5-2 loss to the Marlins, the Royals designated him for assignment, thus removing him from the 40-man roster.
The Royals now have 10 days to either trade or release Johnson, who is out of minor league options. If Johnson were to clear waivers, the Royals could outright him to Triple-A Omaha during this period.
The Royals needed to make room on their roster for newly acquired Emilio Bonifacio, an infielder who can play all of the infield positions as well as the outfield — just like Johnson.
The Royals chose to DFA Johnson over Jamey Carroll, who was just acquired last Sunday but who is hitless in six at-bats with the Royals.
Johnson’s offensive woes are much worse: He is 0 for his last 31, and just 1 for his last 53. And his error Wednesday — a rather routine grounder rolled right between his legs — may have made the decision to DFA him much easier.
Johnson also misplayed another slow roller that nearly cost the Royals a run. He tried to barehand the roller, even though there was a runner charging toward third base. And when Johnson missed the pick-up, the ball rolled into short left field.
Fortunately for the Royals and Johnson, shortstop Alcides Escobar backed up the play and fired a dart to home plate to get the runner, who nearly scored.
If there was good news for Royals fans regarding Thursday’s roster move, it’s that the Royals didn’t feel compelled to clear roster space by putting Mike Moustakas on the disabled list. Moustakas is battling a strained calf muscle and is not expected to play in the crucial Tigers series until Saturday, according to manager Ned Yost.
Johnson was hitting just .179 with the Royals, and was the player to be named in the blockbuster James Shields-Wil Myers trade last December.
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.