Royals make roster moves

On pitching staff

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ryan Verdugo is out and Will Smith is in the Kansas City Royals’ rotation.

The Royals optioned left-hander Ryan Verdugo to Triple-A Omaha Wednesday after he was hit hard in his big league debut. Verdugo gave up six runs and eight hits with two walks in 1 2/3 innings in a 9-6 loss Tuesday to Seattle.

Smith, a 23-year-old left-hander, was recalled from Omaha and will start Thursday against the Mariners. Smith was 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA in three starts earlier this season with Kansas City, allowing 14 runs and 18 hits, including six home runs, before being sent back to Omaha on June 5.

In his last four starts for the Storm Chasers, Smith was 3-0 with a 1.30 ERA, allowing four earned runs and 23 hits in 27 2/3 innings, while striking out 29 and walking five.

“Will has been throwing the ball really, really well, as well or better than anybody down there,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He’s a young guy that I know he’s still going to develop. I like his mound presence. I like his stuff. He gave us a really good start against Cleveland (May 29). He started off rough in the first inning (two runs) and then really settled in from that point on.”

With Smith inserted into the rotation today, the Royals moved Luke Hochevar, Luis Mendoza and Everett Teaford each back one day. They will start in that order for a weekend series against Minnesota.

The Royals also recalled Cuban left-hander Francisley Bueno, who was 1-4 with a 2.88 ERA in 31 relief appearances with Omaha. He was up briefly last month with Kansas City, appearing in two games and allowing one run and three hits in two games.

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