June 17, 2008 - Texas League (TL) - Northwest Arkansas Naturals
The Kansas City Royals have promoted left-hander Dusty Hughes to the Omaha Royals, their Triple-A Pacific Coast League affiliate. Hughes was 5-2 with a 2.91 ERA for the Naturals in 2008, working mostly out of the bullpen. As a reliever, Hughes had a 3-2 record and 2.31 ERA, striking out 34 hitters in 35 innings of relief while racking up three saves. Dusty not only led Naturals hurlers with 20 appearances, but also made four starts for Northwest Arkansas while right-hander Dan Cortes recovered from a quad strain. Hughes, a 25-year old Horn Lake, MS resident, spent all of 2007 in (Double-A) Wichita, where his 6-2 record and 3.08 ERA earned him distinction as Wichita\'s Pitcher of the Year.
The Naturals will receive pitcher Chris Nicoll from Wilmington to fill Hughes\' spot in the bullpen. Nicoll, a 24-year old Santa Maria, CA resident, was one of the most reliable middle relievers for the Blue Rocks, the Royals\' Advanced-A Carolina League affiliate, posting a 2-1 record and a 2.91 ERA in 20 appearances (one start) with one save. A third round pick in 2005 from the University of California at Irvine, the right-hander fanned 49 batters in 43 1/3 innings while walking 15.
Nicoll will be active Tuesday and wear uniform #31. The Naturals roster continues to stand at 23 active players, one below the Texas League limit of 24.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark, located in Springdale. The Naturals have a toll-free ticket hotline (1-877-444-2637) for fans to purchase Naturals tickets. Our website also offers fans the opportunity to purchase tickets online and avoid lines at the ticket windows by printing their tickets at home or at the office.