The Kansas City Royals will be without their Gold Glove center fielder for the immediate future, but they made a move prior to Thursday’s game to assure they won’t go short-handed on the bench or in the outfield.
The Royals placed center fielder Michael A. Taylor on the injured list per MLB’s health and safety protocols. Taylor is in the protocols due to COVID-19 contact tracing. His absence left the club with only two non-pitcher bench players on Wednesday night in backup catcher Sebastian Rivero and first baseman/outfielder Ryan O’Hearn.
Outfielder Dairon Blanco joined the team prior to Thursday’s series finale against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals promoted him from Triple-A Omaha to fill the roster spot vacated by Taylor.
Blanco, 29, was not previously on the club’s 40-man roster. However, Taylor’s COVID-related IL stint means he doesn’t count against the club’s 40-man total. That’s why the Royals were able to add Blanco to the active major-league roster without making another roster move to put him on the 40-man roster.
The Royals acquired Blanco from the Oakland Athletics in 2019 as part of the trade that sent left-handed relief pitcher Jake Diekman to the Athletics in advance of the MLB trade deadline.
A right-handed hitting outfielder from Cuba who stands 6 feet tall and weighs 199 pounds, Blanco split between Double-A and Triple-A last season. Between the two levels, he slashed .277/.350/.441 with 14 home runs and 41 stolen bases in 117 games.
This season at Triple-A, Blanco has slashed .263/.381/.442 with five home runs, 15 RBIs and 13 stolen bases in 31 games.
“He’s another guy who can play the outfield for us,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said of Blanco. “We also know that he’s a top speed guy to where if we do need to make a move late in the game, we can bring in a pinch runner. But he’s been hitting the ball well too. We got a little bit of a glimpse of him in spring training. I thought he did a nice job.”