The Kansas City Royals designated left-hander Bruce Chen for assignment Friday after six seasons with the team.
The move came one day after he gave up six runs in the 10th inning of an 11-5 loss to Minnesota.
The 37-year-old Chen is 2-4 with a 7.45 ERA in 13 games this season. He was in the Royals rotation when the season began, but went on the 60-day disabled list with a back injury.
”It was hard,” manager Ned Yost said of his meeting with Chen. ”That wasn’t Bruce’s role. Bruce is a starter. He fares better as a starter, but we’ve got starters that are going really well right now. There just wasn’t a spot for him. We needed somebody that could fill that role down there and be more accustom to it.
”He’s been here a long time. I’ve watched him win a bunch of ballgames. His presence on the field well as well off the field has been great for all of us.”
The AL Central-leading Royals recalled right-hander Louis Coleman from Triple-A Omaha to take Chen’s spot in the bullpen.
Chen won 35 games from 2010-12. He had a 47-43 record with a 4.53 ERA in six seasons with Kansas City.
Yost acknowledged Chen’s clubhouse leadership was invaluable.
”He was always there to uplift you,” Yost said. ”If you had a bad game, he would be the first one there, saying you’re going to get them tomorrow. He’s a guy that everybody looked to, to kind of lighten the mood in all situations. He’s going to be missed.”
Chen made his major-league debut in 1998 with Atlanta and has a career record of 82-80 with a 4.91 ERA. He also has pitched for Philadelphia, New York Mets, Montreal, Cincinnati, Houston, Baltimore and Texas.
Chen’s salary for 2014 is $3.25 million, with an option of $5.5 million for next year and a $1 million buyout.
Coleman was 2-1 with seven saves and a 3.86 ERA in 28 games with Omaha, striking out 53 in 39 2/3 innings. He was 1-0 with a 7.48 ERA in 20 relief appearances earlier this season with Kansas City.