Royals recall Mondesi, send Merrifield to Omaha

Raul Mondesi joins the Royals one day shy of his 21st birthday.

Morry Gash/AP

One young Royal’s rise to the big leagues has been cut short, at least for now, while another one’s has just begun.

The Kansas City Royals announced Tuesday that they have recalled infielder Raul Mondesi from Triple-A Omaha. He’ll be taking the roster spot of infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield, who was optioned back to Omaha.

Mondesi, a switch-hitter, entered this year ranked as the top prospect in the Royals’ organization by Baseball America.

Mondesi, who is a day shy of his 21st birthday, made his major league debut in Game 3 of the World Series last season, pinch-hitting in the fifth inning, the first player in history to debut in the Fall Classic. He has played in 14 games with the Storm Chasers in 2016, batting .304 with two doubles, four triples, a homer, nine runs and five stolen bases since being promoted from Double-A Northwest Arkansas on July 8.

Mondesi opened the year in Northwest Arkansas, but his season was interrupted May 10 when he was suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for a banned substance. He had a nine-game rehab assignment with Wilmington (Advanced-A) that began June 25, then returned to Northwest Arkansas for a four-game stretch before his promotion to Omaha.

Merrifield got off to a hot start with the Royals but has cooled off of late. He returns to Omaha with a .271 average, two homers, 17 RBIs and five stolen bases with the Royals.

The club also announced Monday night that outfielder Lorenzo Cain will begin a rehab assignment with the Storm Chasers on Wednesday.