The Kansas City Royals announced a series of transactions on Tuesday that affects their Triple-A affiliate Omaha Storm Chasers roster prior to this evening's series-opening road matchup against the Round Rock Express at Dell Diamond.
Infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield has been recalled from Omaha to Kansas City. In nine contests with the Storm Chasers this year he has posted a .412 average (14-34) with six runs, four doubles, three homers and nine RBI. The 27-year-old collected hits in six of those nine games, including five multi-hit efforts, while also driving in at least one run in six of nine.
At the time of his promotion he leads the Pacific Coast League with a .794 slugging percentage, in addition to ranking third in batting average. In 289 career games with Omaha, Merrifield has compiled a .290 clip (340-1173), adding 192 runs, 80 doubles, eight triples, 19 homers and 105 RBI, along with 64 stolen bases in 83 attempts. The South Carolina product was selected by the Royals in the ninth round of the 2010 MLB Draft.
In a corresponding move, right-handed pitcher Jake Junis has been optioned from Kansas City to Omaha. The right-hander became the 37th Storm Chasers player to make his Major League debut with the Royals since 2011 on April 12. He fired a scoreless frame while allowing one hit and two walks against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium.
In his first outing of 2017 with Omaha on April 7 at Colorado Springs he did not factor in the decision despite allowing just two earned runs on four hits in 6.1 innings of work, adding seven strikeouts. In seven career Triple-A outings with the Storm Chasers he has tallied a 1-3 record and 6.44 ERA (26 ER/36.1 IP). The 24-year-old was selected in the 29th round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of Rock Falls High School in Illinois.
In addition, right-hander Mark Peterson has been transferred to Single-A Idaho Falls. Over three relief appearances with Omaha this year, the 26-year-old has not allowed a run over 3.2 shutout innings along with two strikeouts. In a corresponding move, infielder Carlos Diaz has been transferred to Omaha from Single-A Idaho Falls. He did not record a hit in four at-bats with Double-A Northwest Arkansas earlier this year, though he did draw a walk.
As a result of these roster moves, Omaha's active roster now stands at 25, in addition to four on the Disabled List.
The Storm Chasers begin their eight-game road trip this evening versus the Round Rock Express. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT at Dell Diamond, with top Royals prospect Josh Staumont (1-1, 6.75) anticipated to start for Omaha. The Express are anticipated to give the nod to RHP Dillon Gee (0-2, 7.20).
Following their road trip to Round Rock and New Orleans, the Storm Chasers return home to Werner Park on Thursday, April 27 to start an eight-game homestand. Their series opener versus the Oklahoma City Dodgers is set for a 6:35 p.m. start time at Werner Park that evening.
Tickets for that game and all 2017 Storm Chasers games are still available and can be purchased online at www.omahastormchasers.com/tickets, or by calling the Werner Park Ticket Office at (402) 738-5100. Werner Park Ticket Office hours can be viewed by clicking here.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.