KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Royals are giving top prospect Nicky Lopez his big league shot, summoning him from Triple-A Omaha and putting him right into the starting lineup for their series opener against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
The 24-year-old Lopez was the Royals’ fifth-round pick in the 2016 draft. He was hitting .353 with a .457 on-base percentage with the Storm Chasers. Lopez also has struck out just five times in 116 at-bats, the fewest of anybody in the Pacific Coast League.
He was batting second and playing second base against the Rangers, while the versatile Whit Merrifield — one of Kansas City’s best hitters — was moved to right field and will lead off.
The Royals optioned right-hander Jake Newberry to Omaha to clear roster space for him.