Royals recall OF Fuentes from Omaha, send Gore back down

Reymond Fuentes poses a threat both in the box and in the field has the speed the Royals like.

Matt Kartozian/Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Royals called up outfielder Reymond Fuentes on Friday, sending Terrance Gore back to Double-A.

Gore spent two days in the majors, but didn’t enter a game. Fuentes, a left-handed-hitting 24-year-old, played in six games for Triple-A Omaha, going 8 for 18 with a double, two stolen bases and six runs scored.

Fuentes will be the Royals’ fifth outfielder and final bench player. Manager Ned Yost said he would mix-and-match Fuentes into the lineup, although he would probably be used mostly as a pinch-runner.

"He gives us more options [than Gore]," Yost said. "Sitting there thinking through it. What changed after Alex got hurt, I thought we could use a pinch-runner, but we haven’t used a pinch-runner all year. We need more versatility out of that last spot."

Fuentes fills more roles than Gore because he poses a threat both in the box (.294/.363/.416 last season) and in the field (33 career outfield assists). Plus, he still has the speed the Royals like and he has never stolen fewer than 25 bases in a full season.

But he doesn’t appear to be a replacement for Gore or even the injured Alex Rios. Fuentes, a singles-hitting left-handed batter, profiles more as an alternative to Jarrod Dyson. With Rios’ injury, Dyson and right-hander Paulo Orlando had planned on platooning in right field depending on who the opposing pitcher is.

Against right-hander Sonny Gray on Friday, though, Orlando earned the start in right field. Yost also said Fuentes’ presence doesn’t change the role of Dyson, despite their similar profiles.

"Days that we give Cain days off, Dys will be in center," Yost said. "Days like Sunday, Dys will probably be in left. They’ll all play all over the place."

Last season, Fuentes slashed .297/.367/.439 against minor-league right-handers. Against lefties, those numbers slipped to .276/.344/.310.

Fuentes made his major league debut in 2013, playing in 23 games for San Diego and registering five hits in 33 at-bats (.152). He was primarily a left and center fielder in the minors, although he has experience in right field as well. Fuentes played right field Thursday night for the first time since 2013, when he was a Double-A farmhand. He was acquired by the Royals from the Padres in November in exchange for pitcher Kyle Bartsch.

Fuentes was already on Kansas City’s 40-man roster and can easily be sent back to the minors when Rios — or pitcher Luke Hochevar — returns from the disabled list.

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