The Royals have selected Nate Eaton onto the big league roster, per a club announcement. Maikel García was optioned to Triple-A Omaha to open an active roster spot, while the team transferred outfielder Edward Olivares from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list to create a spot on the 40-man roster.
Eaton is up for the second time this season, although this promotion should be more lasting than his previous stint. The 25-year-old was called up as one of a swath of virus substitutes during the Royals road series in Toronto. He collected two hits (including his first MLB home run) in 12 at-bats. As a designated substitute, he was returned to the minors without occupying a 40-man roster spot at the end of the series.
This time, Eaton’s promotion involves the more typical contract selection. He’d now have to pass through waivers for Kansas City to remove him from the 40-man, although it’s likely the retooling club will give him a decent leash for the stretch run. The former 21st-rounder is having a breakout year in the upper minors. He started the season relatively slowly, hitting .271/.331/.400 through 37 games at Double-A Northwest Arkansas. He nevertheless received a bump to Triple-A Omaha at the end of May, and he’s taken to the minors highest level well. Through 209 plate appearances there, Eaton is hitting .303/.373/.524 with nine home runs and stolen bases apiece.
Eaton would’ve been eligible for the Rule 5 draft this winter, and Kansas City will give him a 40-man spot a couple months early to get a look at him down the stretch. He’s played primarily third base and right field in the minors, with brief stints in left and center field. That bit of defensive flexibility should give manager Mike Matheny a few possibilities to get his bat into the lineup.
Olivares just landed on the IL a few weeks ago with a left quad strain. It’s evidently a severe injury, as the Royals rather quickly ruled him out for a couple months. He’ll be eligible to return 60 days from the time of his original placement on July 22, but even a best-case scenario would see him log around more weeks of action this year. The righty-hitting outfielder has had a nice showing in 36 games this season, hitting .303/.358/.434 with a trio of longballs.