KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Royals manager Ned Yost is hopeful that second baseman Omar Infante will be ready to return for a weekend series at Minnesota after he was hit by a pitch in the face.
Yost said before Wednesday's series finale against Tampa Bay that Infante was seeing another doctor but that so far he had checked out OK. Infante sprained his jaw and needed six stitches to close a cut when he was hit by a pitch from the Rays' Heath Bell on Monday night.
"Omar's a tough kid," Yost said. "We caught a break."
The Royals made do at second base with third baseman Danny Valencia on Tuesday night, but that left them with no backup infielders. They decided to recall Johnny Giavotella from Triple-A Omaha on Wednesday, and he was starting at second base and batting second against Tampa Bay.
The Royals also activated reliever Louis Coleman off the disabled list, where he had been recovering from a bruised middle finger on his pitching hand, and optioned fellow relievers Donnie Joseph and Aaron Brooks to Omaha.
Giavotella was 7 of 19 in his first five games at Omaha, and Yost said his hot bat was a big reason why the Royals decided to recall him. Kansas City is hitting just .250 through its first seven games, and left the bases loaded three times in a 1-0 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.
"Johnny's been swinging the bat really well right now. It's simple as that," Yost said. "We need some offense right now."
Giavotella has proven he can rake in the minors, earning call-ups each of the last three seasons. But he has yet to prove he can do it in the big leagues, hitting .240 with three homers and 40 RBIs in 113 games, and was beaten out for a backup job in spring training.
"It's something that you have to get used to," Giavotella replied, when asked about the frustration that comes with being stuck in the minors. "But anything to come to the big leagues is worth it. ... I don't think I have anything to prove."
Giavotella acknowledged that "second base is Omar's job, and when he's healthy, he'll come back." After all, it was Infante whom the Royals inked to a four-year, $30.25 million contract in the offseason to stabilize a position that has been vexing for years.
Exactly when that happens, though, is still up in the air.
"He's at the doctor right now, getting re-checked, making sure everything is good," Yost said before Wednesday's game. "Omar was in good spirits. Looks good, feels good."