Giavotella called up to fill in for ailing Infante

SEATTLE -- When you're calling in reinforcements, who better than Triple-A Omaha's leading hitter?

The Royals needed a second baseman so Johnny Giavotella and his .352 average for the Storm Chasers got the call. He was in the lineup against the Mariners on Friday night, playing second and batting sixth.

To make room on the roster, pitcher Michael Mariot was optioned to Omaha.

Regular second baseman Omar Infante, out with an aching back, wasn't expected to play before next Tuesday so Giavotella was summoned.

"We figured that he wouldn't play today, wouldn't play tomorrow and instead of pushing it -- with the off-day Monday, we're kind of shooting for Tuesday," manager Ned Yost said before Friday's game. "So that's kind of the plan. We figured we'd get a second baseman up here for a couple days and go from there."

Infante, according to Yost, was feeling better when he left the ballpark Thursday.

Danny Valencia, a third baseman by trade, played second base Wednesday and Thursday but Yost opted for Giavotella.

"He's a natural second baseman. It's unnatural for Danny. He's good in a pinch but if it's going to be for an extended period of time, I'd rather have somebody with more experience over there," Yost said.

That "extended period" might be for just three games but that would be longer than Giavotella's last stay. Called up April 9 after Infante was hit in the jaw by a pitch, Giavotella played just one game before being returned to Omaha.

"You never know in this game," Giavotella said. "I'm just going to take it one day at a time. Things happen different every day, you never know."

In 24 games for Omaha, Giavotella has a .410 on-base percentage with one home run, 13 RBIs and just six strikeouts in 91 at-bats. In his one game for Kansas City, he was 1-for-3 with one RBI.

Mariot appeared in six games, pitching 10 2/3 innings in his first big league action. He had a 5.91 ERA with nine strikeouts and 10 hits allowed.

"I liked him a lot, I thought he did a nice job. A good fit," Yost said.

His departure reduces the pitching staff to 11.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.