Royals tab speedster Gore to replace Rios on roster

Terrance Gore provided some memorable moments for the Royals last season as a pinch runner.

Ed Zurga/AP

The Royals recalled outfielder Terrance Gore on Wednesday, manager Ned Yost told 610 Sports Radio, after injured outfielder Alex Rios was placed on the disabled list with a fractured left hand.

Gore, 23, will be the Royals’ fifth outfielder and last bench player. Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando will split the right-field duties in Rios’ absence, which has no official timetable. Yost said the club would leave Lorenzo Cain in center field, while Gore would be used primarily as a pinch runner.

"He’s a valuable guy because you can put him in the game, steal second base and put yourself in position to win a ballgame late," Yost said to 610. "That’s a valuable weapon to have; it’s a big weapon."

Gore started the season in Double A Northwest Arkansas and played five games with the Naturals, exiting yesterday’s game early. He is hitless in 12 at-bats early on, but the speedster has walked three times and swiped two bases.

Last year, Gore provided a jolt off the Royals’ bench in September, adding more speed to an already fleet-footed squad. He appeared as a pinch runner in nine games down the stretch, stealing five bases and scoring five runs.

He also pinch ran in six postseason games, stealing three bases and scoring two runs. Gore has only two major league plate appearances and has never started a game in the majors.

Gore broke his jaw as a result of a hit by pitch during minor league spring training on March 27. He missed no minor league games.

Gore’s speed has been his trademark in the Kansas City organization, though his bat has lagged behind. In 2014, Gore slashed just .218/.284/.258 with high A Wilmington before spending 17 games in Triple A and the rest of the season in the big leagues.

Gore was already on the Royals’ 40-man roster, which provides Kansas City with roster flexibility down the line when Rios — and eventually Luke Hochevar — return to action. Gore can easily be optioned down to the minors while other choices (such as Moises Sierra) would have had to pass through waivers to get sent down.

With Alex Gordon still recovering from offseason wrist surgery, Kansas City opted for a fifth outfielder as insurance instead of an infield bat or a bullpen arm. Lane Adams, Jorge Bonifacio and Reymond Fuentes were the other outfielders on the 40-man roster whom the Royals could have recalled.

You can follow Matthew DeFranks on Twitter at @MDeFranks or email him at matthew.defranks@gmail.com.