KANSAS CITY -- Manager Ned Yost, with his young bullpen hitting a bit of a speed bump lately, decided a change was in order after watching Kanekoa Texeira in Wednesday night's game against the Indians. So Louis Coleman got the call, and Texeira was sent to Triple-A Omaha.
"We've been struggling a little bit commanding the ball in the 'pen -- throwing strikes, coming in and getting inherited runners out," Yost said. "And he's been doing a good job, so we look at it as a bit of an upgrade."
Texeira, in six games for the Royals, posted a 2.84 ERA in 6 1/3 innings. He gave up just two runs, but also allowed 13 hits and three walks. Against the Indians on Wednesday night, Texeira worked two innings and allowed five hits and one run, working out of a ninth-inning bases-loaded situation.
"He gave up a lot of hits and he was off a little bit," Yost said. "He commanded the ball really good in Spring Training, kept it down. He's a little more erratic now."
But Texeira certainly could be back and, in fact, it wouldn't be a surprise if the bullpen becomes something of a rotating operation if the kids skid and need some Minor League realignment. There's ample talent at Omaha and Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
"The timing was good to send Texeira down, get him sharp and then be available if we need him. And we will because it's important that our bullpen stays sharp and productive," Yost said. "So if a guy gets off a little bit, we've got the luxury now of sending him down and bringing somebody up that is sharp."
Texeira was in his second big league season. Last season, as a rookie, he was 1-0 with a 4.64 ERA in 27 relief appearances after being claimed off waivers from the Mariners.
Coleman has scoreless big league debut
KANSAS CITY -- Royals manager Ned Yost wasted no time getting rookie Louis Coleman his first exposure to the big leagues. Just hours after his arrival, Coleman was brought in to pitch against Cleveland, relieving Sean O'Sullivan after a leadoff single in the Indians' seventh.
That was Yost's plan -- get through at least six innings with O'Sullivan, then go to Coleman, Aaron Crow and, if necessary, Joakim Soria. As it turned out, Soria was not needed because Coleman notched two shutout innings and Crow worked a scoreless ninth to get credit for the 3-2 victory.
"Both those kids came in banging strikes," Yost said. "That's key. If you're coming in late in key games, you've got to bang strikes."
Coleman, right in character with his Minor League strikeout credentials (16 in seven innings), struck out the first batter he faced, Adam Everett. He retired three batters in the seventh. In the eighth, he gave up two hits but got help when center fielder Melky Cabrera threw out a runner at the plate.
The ecstatic Coleman was oblivious to the weather conditions -- rain and temperatures around 50 degrees -- in his Major League debut.
"You always think of a sunny day, the wind blowing in, just perfect conditions," Coleman said. "But today it was raining, you had to make do. Still, it didn't feel like it was raining or that it was cold. It was a blast and everything I thought it would be. Like everybody says, it was a dream come true."
A walk-off victory made it even sweeter.
Yost was impressed by his latest rookie reliever.
"We got a real good view of him in Spring Training of how good he is, and he showed it again tonight in his Major League debut," Yost said. "No butterflies, just came in on the attack."
Coleman brings his strikeout power to KC
KANSAS CITY -- It almost looks like a typographical error -- 16 strikeouts in a mere seven innings. That's the Pacific Coast League, too, not the Bad News Bears League.
That's what right-hander Louis Coleman, the fifth rookie to join the Royals' bullpen, did this season pitching for the Omaha Storm Chasers at Triple-A.
"I've never done anything like that before," Coleman said. "I was just getting ahead and was able to make good pitches early in the count with two strikes and was able to go ahead and get a couple strikeouts. It was a running joke. It was a good time."
It was more than "a couple strikeouts" and probably not very funny to the guys trying to hit Coleman. His weapons?
"A little bit of both, about half and half fastballs and sliders," he said. "A couple changeups but not many."
One of the last pitching cuts during Spring Training, Coleman was impressive in Arizona with a 2.35 ERA in eight games with 12 strikeouts and just one walk in 7 2/3 innings.
For Omaha, in addition to the 16 strikeouts, he had two saves, an 0-1 record and a 3.86 ERA. In his six outings, he gave up four hits, four walks and three earned runs.
Coleman, 25, learned of the decision to promote him and send right-hander Kanekoa Texeira to Omaha at about 8:30 a.m. CT on Thursday. He made the quick trip from Omaha in plenty of time for Thursday night's game against the Indians. Then he'll be on a flight to Texas for a series against the Rangers.
His mom, dad and three sisters, hearing the news, got in the car and headed for Kansas City.
"They're driving from Schlater, Miss.," he said. "Then they're going to go from here to Texas. They're going to make a big circle."
In addition to being in the big leagues for the first time, Coleman is looking forward to a new hairstyle -- the Fauxhawk favored by his young bullpen partners.
"I've never had a Mohawk before, so we'll see how that goes," Coleman said with a big smile.
Rookies in Royals' bullpen look up to Soria
KANSAS CITY -- It's simply not true that Joakim Soria will now be called "grandfather" or "viejo" in the Royals' bullpen. Even though he's now the senior active member at age 26 and in his fifth big league season.
The callup of Louis Coleman gives the Royals five rookies among the seven relievers; the others are Nate Adcock, Tim Collins, Aaron Crow and Jeremy Jeffress. The other member, Blake Wood, has less than a full season in the Majors.
"I think it's awesome," Adcock said. "It's a good opportunity and a good learning process for all of us -- to come up here together and go through the same things, mentally and physically. It's a good opportunity for all of us, but you still have to do your work and stay here. That's the main thing -- help the ballclub win."
Soria, one of the game's premier closers, is a leader by example in Adcock's view.
"He doesn't have to say much," Adcock said. "You can just watch him and learn more than when he talks. Just how he goes about his business, how he's a professional, and I've learned more by just how composed he is out on the mound, even when things aren't going great. It just looks like nothing fazes him."
The other older reliever, Robinson Tejeda, 29, is on the disabled list.
Although Collins and Jeffress hit some bumps lately, the four rookies still had a collective ERA of 2.27 going into Thursday night's game against Cleveland. Crow, in 10 1/3 innings, and Adcock, in 4 1/3, had yet to be charged with a run.
"In my mind, these kids all have quality stuff," manager Ned Yost said. "But we've got a Minor League system full of quality stuff. You've got to be able to command the baseball, throw strikes and be productive -- get the job done. We think that this group can do that, so go out and do it."
Mike Moustakas hit the first homer for a Triple-A Omaha player at the new Werner Park in a 10-4 rout of Memphis on Wednesday. Eric Hosmer's two hits raised his average to .415 (22-for-53).
Royals Charities has donated more than $60,000 to 12 area organizations in its spring grant cycle. Included was $24,000 to the Royals Fields program, which funds improvements to baseball and softball facilities in five states. Applications can be made through www.royals.com/royaltyfields.
Aaron Crow is the first former University of Missouri player to ever pitch for the Royals, according to the club.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.