Well, that was fun, Luke. We'll see you again in a month or so?...
The Royals sent Luke Hochevar back down to Omaha after a fairly rocky stretch of three starts. In his three start run, Hoch threw more than 3.1 innings exactly once. His ERA sat at 10.80. His FIP, while better, was still 6.92. His K:BB ratio was 3:7. Clearly his success in the PCL did not translate over these three games.
In conjunction with the Hochevar demotion, the Royals place Robinson Tejeda and Mike Aviles on the DL. The Tejeda move to the DL clears up the whispers inquiring as to why Trey Hillman wasn't using him more recently. Gamesmanship rears its head again. The Aviles injury and struggles that came with that injury are well-known. The Royals have to hope that the injury is truly what was wrong with Aviles, not that he is Angel Berroa v. 2.0.
With these three roster moves, the Royals brought up middle infielder Tug Hulett, right-handed power reliever Roman Colon, and the much talked about lefty-specialist John Bale.
These moves seem to point towards Sidney Ponson reclaiming the fourth spot in the rotation. By reclaiming, I mean that Hochevar played his way out of it, of course; by fourth spot in the rotation, I am by no means valuing him as such, as he is the fifth-best starter in this rotation.
Obviously, Luke Hochevar's performance in his most recent stint with the Royals was nothing to keep him in the rotation right now. With the team struggling as much as it has been for the past two weeks, they could not afford to keep giving away games. For all his faults, Ponson pitched well enough to have kept the Royals in the game in four of his six starts.
Hopefully the return of John Bale (I cannot believe I am actually looking forward to his return) means that Horacio Ramirez will see his appearances limited to absolute blowouts. The Colon promotion should also be seen as a means by which the Royals want to give themselves more power in the bullpen. Tejeda's availability would seem to have been limited over the past few weeks, and the team has suffered as they trotted out soft tossers, Sidney Ponson and Horacio Ramirez out there in relief.
A change was clearly necessitated by the disappointing play that has been on display since the Angels series. This was supposed to be the stretch by which the Royals were able to put some separation between them and the rest of the Central. No such thing has happened. During today's game, the Royals find themselves a mere 1.5 games better than the fourth place White Sox and .5 games better than the Twins. The Tigers have gone on a tear to coincide with the Royals poor play and are now four games out in front.
Let us hope that this change sparks something.