Wood Thrown Right into the Fire by KC
OMAHA, NE - Omaha Royals closer Blake Wood was called up by Kansas City Wednesday and was immediately thrust into his Major League debut. The 24-year old right-hander pitched a scoreless seventh inning in Kansas City's 4-0 loss to Cleveland and KC manager Trey Hillman said Wood will be used as a set-up man. Reliever Josh Rupe, who began the year with Omaha, was designated for assignment by Kansas City to make room for Wood.
In another move, Kansas City has promoted infielder Kurt Mertins from Double-A Northwest Arkansas to Triple-A Omaha. And, ironically, as the O-Royals are playing at Reno, former Royals reliever Carlos Rosa was promoted yesterday from the Aces to their parent club, the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Wood was 2-1 with a 2.16 ERA and five saves in 12 appearances for Omaha this year, his first season at the Triple-A level. The former starter, who was converted into a relief role late last season at Northwest Arkansas, had allowed only one earned run in 13-and-two-thirds innings over his last ten games with Omaha. Wood has been one of the Royals' top pitching prospects since he was their third-round selection in the 2006 draft. He played for three seasons at Georgia Tech and as a junior in 2006 he helped lead the Yellow Jackets to the College World Series.
Rupe, 27, went 1-1 with a 5.59 ERA in eleven relief appearances with Kansas City. However, he had been struggling lately, culminating in Tuesday's 8-2 loss to the Indians when he allowed all four batters he faced to reach base. He was called up from Omaha on April 16 when Roman Colon was designated for assignment. Rupe, a former Texas Rangers right-hander, opened the season with the O-Royals, tossing five scoreless innings in two games. He has been outrighted previously, so even if he clears waivers, Rupe could choose to become a free agent.
Mertins is a versatile infielder who has played second base, third base and shortstop in this, his second season with Northwest Arkansas. After a slow start at the plate this year, he was batting .500 (8-for-16) in May, raising his average to .311, which ranks 6th in the Texas League. He had no home runs, nine RBI and was three-for-three in stolen base attempts in 22 games with the Naturals. This will be the first taste of Triple-A for the 24-year old, who bats and throws right-handed. Mertins was the Royals' 13th-round pick in the 2006 draft.
Rosa had fired four scoreless innings in three appearances with Reno since being traded earlier this month to the Diamondbacks for class-A shortstop Rey Navarro. To make room for Rosa, Arizona optioned right-hander Daniel Stange to Reno. Rosa, 25, opened the year with Omaha. He was 2-1 with a 3.65 ERA in six appearances for the Royals. The right-hander had posted a 3.21 ERA in nine relief outings with KC over the past two seasons.
The Royals next game at Rosenblatt Stadium is Thursday, May 20 at 6:35 p.m., when the Salt Lake Bees visit to begin a four-game series, as the Royals open a 12-game homestand.
For tickets, call (402) 738-5100, or print tickets online at www.oroyals.com .
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