Why KC Royals optioned Drew Waters to Triple-A Omaha in latest roster shakeup

The Kansas City Royals shuffled their roster on Tuesday.

KC sent outfielder Drew Waters to Triple-A Omaha and recalled reliever Carlos Hernández in the corresponding move.

Waters, 25, appeared in three games with the Royals this season. He hit .125 in eight plate appearances while making two starts. He was initially recalled on June 11 after the Royals placed veteran outfielder Hunter Renfroe on the 10-day injured list.

“He’s going to work on his total game (in Triple-A),” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said of Waters. “He’s just like everybody as they all have room to improve. … We know his skills. It’s just a matter of getting consistent reps and performing consistently. But, offensively, he looked good and looked strong. He just needs to be able to recognize off-speed and use the whole field.”

The Royals opted to keep three catchers on the roster. The club has captain Salvador Perez, Freddy Fermin and Austin Nola available. Perez, who is still nursing some right knee discomfort, is able to hit and play in the field.

On Tuesday, Perez will be at first base. The Royals also slotted Fermin behind the plate in the series opener against the Oakland Athletics.

“We felt like it was important to continue to have Salvy get another day to see how he was going to be with his knee,” Quatraro said. “He’s back in there at first (base), but we needed coverage with Nola, so we opted to send Waters out. Not an easy decision, but something we felt was best for the whole team right now.”

Hernández adds a fresh arm to the bullpen. He worked on his command with the Omaha Storm Chasers and tinkered with a few adjustments. The refinement of his arsenal has helped during his recent minor-league stint.

In his last six appearances in the minors, Hernández has posted a 1.50 ERA and recorded three saves. He has limited opponents to a .150 batting average and registered six strikeouts across six relief innings.

“I was experimenting with new grips and practicing with them during the game,” Hernández said via an interpreter, about a recent minor-league outing.

Hernández has an opportunity to carve out a pivotal role in the Royals bullpen. The club is looking for consistent options late in games and Hernández has the ability to pitch in high-leverage situations if needed.

“Command,” Quatraro said of his expectations for Hernández. “Be in the (strike) zone and put hitters away when he gets ahead.”