KC Royals shuffle roster for 10-game homestand. Here are their latest additions

Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals have called in a pair of key reinforcements amid a troubling June slump.

On Monday, the Royals recalled second baseman Michael Massey from his rehab assignment and promoted infielder CJ Alexander from Triple-A Omaha to the big-league roster.

Alexander was set to make his major-league debut against the Miami Marlins Monday night. He was to play third base and bat eighth in the starting lineup. The Royals also shifted Maikel Garcia to second base for the game.

“We knew we were going to have Michael back starting today as long as everything went good last week,” Royals general manager J.J. Picollo said. “So, he is fine and he is able to swing the bat, run the bases and slide. We are going to be cautious with the defense and there is going to be a progression he’ll go through.”

Massey will operate as a designated hitter for the foreseeable future. The Royals plan to allow him to continue building up his defense over the next few weeks.

Massey is hopeful the additional time will help him avoid another flare-up in his back.

“I don’t think we thought it was as bad as it was at first,” Massey said. “It kind of felt like some back tightness and, you know, it kind of turned into a lock up that I had a couple of times.

“There is nothing you can do when that herniated disc is out. You’ve just got to kind of give it time and ... we got a couple of injections which was good. …

“I feel great and feel strong. Hopefully, we can keep going.”

Massey had found his offensive stride before the injury. He returns hitting .294 with six home runs and 23 RBIs this season.

The Royals are excited to welcome his bat back into the lineup. KC had not scored in 22 consecutive innings and had lost 11 of its last 14 games.

“Anytime you have an injury, you’ve kind of got to re-teach yourself how to move,” Massey said. “Something you felt six weeks ago may not work anymore.

“That’s the fun part of this job though, right? That’s kind of the competitiveness and having to come to the field every day and find that challenge. I’ve done it before and plan on doing it again.”

Alexander will get a chance to impress, as well. He earned his promotion from Triple-A Omaha after veteran infielder Adam Frazier was placed on the 10-day injured list with a sprained right thumb.

The Royals acquired Alexander in 2022 from the Atlanta Braves. He joined the organization alongside outfielder Drew Waters and pitcher Andrew Hoffman in exchange for the 35th selection in the 2022 MLB Draft.

“I think the nerves will always be here as it’s the moment I’ve been waiting for my whole life,” Alexander said. “And I think, once I get into the game, you know, and it just starts to flow, I’ll relax. That’s just how I’ve kind of always felt going into any game, to be honest. … I’m just excited to get out there and play.”

Alexander hit .323 with nine home runs and 35 RBIs with the Storm Chasers. He comes from a baseball family: His younger brother, Blaze, plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and his father, Chuck, was a minor-league pitcher.

The Alexanders are the 12th set of brothers to make their MLB debut in the same season over the last 40 years. Alexander will have his parents, sister, brother-in-law and girlfriend in attendance at Kauffman Stadium.

“CJ has been swinging the bat really well,” Picollo said. “So, happy he is going to get an opportunity. It’s a great thing for him.”

The Royals also optioned outfielder Nelson Velázquez to Triple-A Omaha and designated left-handed pitcher Jake Brentz for assignment.

“That’s never an easy decision,” Picollo said. “Brentz is a power arm and, you know, he is having some struggles this year. But, push comes to shove, we have to make decisions.”

Velázquez was 18-for-90 with a .402 slugging percentage in his last 30 games. The Royals felt there wouldn’t be enough at-bats during this 10-game homestand for Velázquez to contribute.

“You want to stick with a guy who is not swinging the bat well,” Picollo said. “He showed some signs when we were home last week, for the last homestand, to be coming out of it. But we had to make a call on what was best for the team and based on the matchups and how we were going to use (Massey).”

The Royals entered Monday’s action nine games behind the Cleveland Guardians in the American League Central Division. KC is also a half-game behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL Wild Card race.

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