SEATTLE -- When you're calling in reinforcements, who better than Triple-A Omaha's leading hitter?
The Royals needed a second baseman so Johnny Giavotella and his .352 average for the Storm Chasers got the call. He was in the lineup against the Mariners on Friday night, playing second and batting sixth.
To make room on the roster, pitcher Michael Mariot was optioned to Omaha.
Regular second baseman Omar Infante, out with an aching back, wasn't expected to play before next Tuesday so Giavotella was summoned.
"We figured that he wouldn't play today, wouldn't play tomorrow and instead of pushing it -- with the off-day Monday, we're kind of shooting for Tuesday," manager Ned Yost said before Friday's game. "So that's kind of the plan. We figured we'd get a second baseman up here for a couple days and go from there."
Infante, according to Yost, was feeling better when he left the ballpark Thursday.
Danny Valencia, a third baseman by trade, played second base Wednesday and Thursday but Yost opted for Giavotella.
"He's a natural second baseman. It's unnatural for Danny. He's good in a pinch but if it's going to be for an extended period of time, I'd rather have somebody with more experience over there," Yost said.
That "extended period" might be for just three games but that would be longer than Giavotella's last stay. Called up April 9 after Infante was hit in the jaw by a pitch, Giavotella played just one game before being returned to Omaha.
"You never know in this game," Giavotella said. "I'm just going to take it one day at a time. Things happen different every day, you never know."
In 24 games for Omaha, Giavotella has a .410 on-base percentage with one home run, 13 RBIs and just six strikeouts in 91 at-bats. In his one game for Kansas City, he was 1-for-3 with one RBI.
Mariot appeared in six games, pitching 10 2/3 innings in his first big league action. He had a 5.91 ERA with nine strikeouts and 10 hits allowed.
"I liked him a lot, I thought he did a nice job. A good fit," Yost said.
His departure reduces the pitching staff to 11.
Duffy's next start hinges on Chen's return
SEATTLE -- Left-hander Danny Duffy might make that May 17 start after all.
Duffy, in his second start Thursday night, held the Mariners to one run on two hits in six-plus innings of a 1-0 loss and, because of next Monday's open date, will be skipped in the next turn of the rotation.
"I'll roll him back into the bullpen but not for four days," manager Ned Yost said.
That means Duffy could be available for bullpen duty against the Rockies on Tuesday and possibly longer -- if Bruce Chen returns from the disabled list in time to face the Orioles on May 17.
"I don't know if Bruce is going to be ready. Odds are no, he's not," Yost said. "Danny will probably make that start."
Chen, out with a bulging disc in his back, is undergoing treatment in Kansas City and played catch on Thursday. But there's been no indication so far of a rehabilitation assignment to the Minors to prepare for the May 17 start.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.