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Royals Officially Recall Heasley for Series Finale vs. Rangers

The righty will make his season debut on Thursday evening in his home state.

The Kansas City Royals split games one and two of their current series against the Texas Rangers, and the road team will be looking to steal the set following a Wednesday night win. 

Without a true starting pitcher, the Royals sent reliever Gabe Speier to the mound as the club's opener against Texas. Speier tossed a pair of perfect innings to begin the outing. Joel Payamps' five strikeouts across three frames also paved the way for Kansas City's win, as did some well-timed hits and a resurgence from Whit Merrifield. In all, it was a gutty performance by the Royals in a critical 8-2 victory. 

Sep 16, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Gabe Speier (67) pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday night, both clubs are back at Globe Life Field for the rubber match of this series. After this, the 10-18 Royals will close their road trip in Colorado with a three-game series against the Rockies. Following that, they head home for an extended homestand against some bitter American League Central foes. 

Here's how the Royals will line up in this evening's game:

Starting Pitchers

Kansas City: RHP Jonathan Heasley (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Texas: LHP Taylor Hearn (1-2, 6.53 ERA)

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Kansas City Royals Starting Lineup

  1. Whit Merrifield (R) - RF
  2. Andrew Benintendi (L) - LF
  3. Salvador Perez (R) - DH
  4. Hunter Dozier (R) - 1B
  5. Bobby Witt Jr. (R) - SS
  6. Emmanuel Rivera (R) - 3B
  7. Michael A. Taylor (R) - CF
  8. Nicky Lopez (L) - 2B
  9. Sebastian Rivero (R) - C

Jonathan Heasley recalled, Kris Bubic sent to Triple-A

Sep 17, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Jon Heasley (left) reacts after giving up a two-run home run to Seattle Mariners center fielder Jarred Kelenic (right) during the fourth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals announced a pair of roster moves on Thursday afternoon. It was expected that RHP Jonathan Heasley would be called up to make his season debut in front of his home state's crowd, and that's exactly what happened. The club's No. 10 prospect had a 4.91 ERA in three starts with Kansas City at the end of last season, and his ERA in Triple-A Omaha this year sits at 4.44 until he returns (if he does). In his place, the Royals are sending LHP Kris Bubic to Omaha. Bubic has been working in relief since getting taken out of the starting rotation last week and appeared in Wednesday night's game. 

Sebastian Rivero gets start at catcher, MJ Melendez not in lineup

Sep 16, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Royals catcher Sebastian Rivero (48) throws to the pitcher during the eighth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Catcher Salvador Perez is listed as the Royals' designated hitter on Thursday, but No. 2 prospect MJ Melendez isn't the one taking his place behind the dish. That honor goes to 23-year-old Sebastian Rivero, who played in 17 games with the Royals last year, posting a .175/.250/.225 slash line and wRC+ of 33. In 18 games with Double-A Northwest Arkansas in 2022, the right-handed backstop is hitting .275 with a career-high 113 wRC+. Facing a left-handed pitcher in Hearn, the Royals are opting for Rivero over Melendez to begin Thursday night's outing.

Follow Along

First Pitch: 7:05 p.m. CST
TV: Bally Sports Kansas City
Radio: KCSP 610 AM

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