KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The Kansas City Royals designated reliever Jason Frasor for assignment and placed third baseman Mike Moustakas on the bereavement list before Monday night's game against Tampa Bay.
The Royals recalled infielder Cheslor Cuthbert and outfielder Paulo Orlando from Triple-A Omaha, giving them additional roster flexibility with several players banged up.
Center fielder Lorenzo Cain has been hampered by a hamstring and right fielder Alex Rios, who missed time earlier this season with a broken hand, has been in a deep rut.
The 37-year-old Frasor is almost certain to be picked up quickly. The right-hander was 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA in 26 games for the Royals' league-best bullpen. But with almost no options left among the rest of the relief corps, Frasor simply became the odd man out in a numbers game.
"It's always a shock when a GM calls," Frasor said. "It's not a good sign when Dayton Moore shows up on the cell phone. I had an inkling it would happen, but it's still a shock."
The veteran reliever said he's never been designated for assignment before and was still learning how the process works. Frasor said he hopes that he'll be claimed quickly and end up pitching somewhere, even if it happens to be against Kansas City.
"It's bittersweet. The Royals are going back to the postseason, no doubt in my mind," he said. "It's funny how it works out. You never know."
Frasor was pitching for last-place Texas last year when he was traded to the Royals, and he proved to be a valuable veteran presence in the clubhouse. And when the team ended made its run to all the way to the World Series, Frasor got to pitch in the postseason for the first time.
"If my wife was standing next to me, I would say, 'That was the best three months of my career,'" Frasor said in front of his locker, his packed bag at his feet. "But she's not standing here, so I'll say it: 'That was the best three months of my life.'"
Orlando returns to the Royals for the second time. He hit .241 with three doubles, five triples and a homer in 32 games over the first two months of the season.
"We needed another outfielder," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Our outfielders have played every single day. Cain is still dealing with leg issues, so we needed that protection."
Yost said that Cain is in no danger of missing the All-Star game later this month, though he is day to day. He was not in the lineup for Monday night's game against the Rays.
Moustakas left in the sixth inning of Sunday's victory over Minnesota. This is the second time he's been placed on the family medical emergency list.
The 22-year-old Cuthbert, who signed as an undrafted free agent in 2009, is making his first appearance on the 25-man roster. He hit .256 with eight homers and 33 RBIs for Omaha after playing most of last season at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where he was a Texas League all-star.
Cuthbert has split time between third base, first base and designated hitter.
"He's a nice young player, he's a very solid defender. We've had a chance to look at him in spring training," Yost said. "For a young player, he has some pop, and you know, he's handled Triple-A quite nicely. ... He's been doing very well there."