Kansas City Royals add new arm to major-league roster. More reinforcements could follow

Kansas City Royals reliever Nick Wittgren is back in the AL Central. Wittgren, who spent three seasons with the Cleveland Guardians, is the latest call-up from Triple-A Omaha. He joins the Royals to provide additional bullpen depth.

“It’s always nice to get back up at this level to compete and try to win,” Wittgren said.

Wittgren has ample MLB experience. He spent seven seasons with the Guardians, Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals. He owns a 3.96 career ERA and has a good relationship with Royals pitching coach Brian Sweeney.

The Royals signed Wittgren to a minor-league deal in December. This season, Wittgren has shined during his Triple-A stint. He owns a 1.25 ERA in 21 2/3 innings pitched. He allowed three earned runs while recording five saves, 19 strikeouts and six walks.

“He knows how to get righties and lefties out,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “He is still developing. He used to be heavy changeup; now he has developed a cutter and slider. He is somebody that is a great teammate who loves to pitch and compete.”

Wittgren said he worked on his slider this offseason. He changed his grip and focused on staying balanced in his delivery. He has confidence in all four pitches and it has helped him get off to a good start in Triple-A.

“I was getting really rotational and also I was falling more towards the third-base side (with my delivery),” Wittgren said. “This offseason, I kind of focused on going toward home, going back to the basics of staying over your back foot and going towards home.”

In a corresponding move, the Royals sent down reliever Max Castillo to Triple-A Omaha.

Lineup shuffle

The Royals shuffled their lineup for the second time this series. Nick Pratto will lead off again while Salvador Perez was moved into the second spot. Bobby Witt Jr., who batted sixth on Monday, will serve as the cleanup hitter Tuesday.

Quatraro said the lineup changes are based on matchups. He wants to generate a balanced lineup that gives KC the best chance to score runs.

“The batting order is not something I put a whole lot of stock into where one guy hits or the other,” Quatraro said. “We put guys in the position that we think will give us the best chance as a team to match up with the opposing pitching staff and give us the best chance to score the most runs we can.”

On the mend: Lynch and Waters making strides

The Royals could get some reinforcements in the upcoming days. Royals starter Daniel Lynch pitched six scoreless innings on Tuesday afternoon. He allowed three hits and recorded five strikeouts in his fifth rehab start for Triple-A Omaha.

Lynch threw 47 of 61 pitches for strikes. He didn’t walk a batter and showed good command working both sides of the plate.

“It was great to see and he went to the bullpen and threw 15-20 more (pitches),” Quatraro said. “That is great and everything is progressing as we have hoped. We’ve got to be sure he comes in tomorrow and feels good. Then we will try to come up with a plan.”

Quatraro also provided an update on injured starter Brad Keller. Keller had a clean MRI on his shoulder after being placed on the 15-day injured list with right-shoulder impingement syndrome.

“Yesterday he started a throwing progression and we will build him back up and get back to work,” Quatraro said.

Additionally, Royals outfielder Drew Waters is on the mend. He is 15-for-26 in his last six games and has recorded four doubles, two triples and two home runs during that span.