KANSAS CITY, Mo.The Royals summoned Raul A. Mondesi to Kansas City on the eve of his 21st birthday. They immediately inserted him into the lineup at second base, though he played primarily shortstop in the minors.
He celebrated his birthday by going 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI in a 7-5 victory against the Angels.
“It was time to bring him up,” big league manager Ned Yost said. “He’s a guy who’s going to be part of our organization for years and years to come. So he’s just starting his tenure here now.
“We feel like he’s ready, and we wanted him to come up and get him some valuable experience. He just keeps filling out, getting bigger, getting stronger.”
This was not the 21-year-old Mondesi’s initial taste of the big leagues. He is the first player to make his major league debut in the World Series, striking out as a pinch-hitter in Game Three last year against the Mets.
“He looks extremely comfortable,” Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said. “He looks like he’s not new to the league, by any means. I think last year, just him being in the dugout, being on the roster for the World Series, definitely helped him out a little bit. You can’t get on a bigger stage than that . . .
“If anything that helped take a little bit of pressure off coming into this year.”
Mondesi hit .400 in his final nine games at Triple-A Omaha with one double, three triples, one home run and five stolen bases.
“No pressure,” said Mondesi, whom the Royals signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2011. “I know how this works now. I just want to come in here and play my game.”
Mondesi grew up in big league clubhouses with his father Raul Mondesi playing 13 seasons in the majors.
The junior Mondesi had his 2016 season interrupted by a 50-game suspension for testing positive on May 10 for Clenbuterol, a performance-enhancing substance he said he ingested while taking cold medicine.
Rookie-level Idaho Falls catcher Meibrys Viloria, a 19-year-old from Colombia, hit .448 through July 31 but had seen his average drop to .409 through mid-August.
Righthander Travis Eckert, a seventh-round pick out of Oregon State in June, pitched five scoreless innings on Aug. 4 for Rookie-level Burlington.