Royals recall Butler after putting Sweeney on disabled list
ST. LOUIS | Billy Butler rejoined the Royals, as a first baseman, after a one-month remedial tour at Class AAA Omaha when an ailing right knee forced veteran designated hitter Mike Sweeney to the disabled list.
The Royals recalled Butler from Omaha prior to Tuesday’s game against the Cardinals.
Butler, 21, switched from left field to first base after returning May 16 to Omaha following a 15-day tour in the big leagues. He was batting .291 in 57 games at Omaha with 13 homers and 46 RBIs.
Butler has long been viewed by club officials as Sweeney’s successor at designated hitter because of his potent bat and suspect defense. Sweeney’s five-year contract expires at the end of the season.
Sweeney, 33, has been battling a sore knee for more than a month, but the problem worsened in a nine-game homestand that concluded Sunday.
With the Royals playing this week in National League parks, and not having use of the DH, Sweeney can effectively get two weeks of recovery time on the disabled list while missing on one week’s worth of games.
Sweeney is batting .245 in 57 games with seven homers and 31 RBIs. This marks the seventh straight season that he has spent time on the disabled list, but his primary problems in the past dealt with back and neck issues.