KANSAS CITY -- A Major League debut is always a special day, regardless of the circumstances. But for lefty Ryan Verdugo, he was able to do it in front of some familiar faces Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
His family was in the stands, but, in addition, two of his college teammates were in the house -- and in uniform -- to witness his first big league game.
Verdugo pitched at LSU in 2008 with Royals reliever Louis Coleman, as well as Mariners reliever Charlie Furbush. Before Verdugo's start, Coleman gave his own scouting report on his former and current teammate.
"He pounds the zone. He has a really good changeup. But he goes right after you, just attack mode all the time. He's a three pitches or less kind of guy," Coleman said.
The two were not only teammates on that LSU team, but they were roommates in Spring Training this season and pitched together at times at Triple-A Omaha.
"When I was watching him in Omaha, just attacking the zone, seemed to have quick innings, 12 pitches or less kind of innings. Games went by fast. Even his bad outings -- for him they were bad outings, but for everybody else they would've been good outings," Coleman said.
Coleman, who is a year older than Verdugo, spoke of the lefty with the pride of a big brother.
"He was only at LSU for a year. When he was there, we got to be pretty good friends. But now that he's here, it's a special day for him. I'm just proud of him that he's going to be starting and everything," Coleman said.
Verdugo, Mazzaro added to Royals' roster
KANSAS CITY -- With the departure of Jonathan Sanchez, 25-year-old Ryan Verdugo filled an empty rotation spot for the Royals on Tuesday.
The left-hander was called up from Triple-A Omaha ahead of Tuesday night's game against the Mariners for his Major League debut.
Verdugo was on the active roster earlier this season, but he didn't make an appearance in his two days with the Royals. At Omaha, Verdugo appeared in 18 games (15 starts), going 6-2 with a 3.58 ERA. In five years as a Minor Leaguer -- four in the Giants' system -- he's 27-9.
"No. 1, he was available to pitch. No. 2, he's got pretty good numbers at Triple-A," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He's done a nice job [at Omaha]. He's on the roster, and we wanted to take a look at him."
Oddly enough, Verdugo's promotion comes as Sanchez was designated for assignment. The two pitchers were acquired by Kansas City in the same trade this offseason from the Giants in exchange for outfielder Melky Cabrera.
In addition on Tuesday, the Royals called up right-hander Vin Mazzaro, who will be used in a relief role, and optioned outfielder Jason Bourgeois to Omaha.
Mazzaro has been up and down between Kansas City and Omaha several times this season. He's appeared in eight games for the big league club, including six starts. He's 3-3 with a 5.70 ERA, allowing 20 runs in 30 innings.
Bourgeois was finding playing time hard to come by since Lorenzo Cain returned from injury to reclaim the everyday center-field job. After seven games in April, Bourgeois was optioned back to Triple-A. He returned on June 27, and appeared in only 12 games. Lately, Bourgeois served as a pinch-runner and did not have a plate appearance since July 6.
"Didn't really want him here as a pinch-runner," Yost said. "We needed pitching. We had to have the spot for pitching. If something happens to one of our outfielders, we want him down there playing so that he can come back up here fresh and ready to go."
Bypassed for the starting assignment on Tuesday was veteran Doug Davis, who has been starting at Omaha. After a pretty good beginning to his season, Davis has struggled of late.
How Yost's pitching rotation sets up after Verdugo's debut on Tuesday is still a bit of a question mark. Lefty Everett Teaford was originally scheduled to start Tuesday, but his emergency relief appearance on Monday necessitated a roster addition. He's listed as the probable starter on Sunday against the Twins.
"We're going to re-adjust the rotation in the next day or two," Yost said. "We've got to get it sorted out. ... It's our last big challenge. You look at the eight guys we put on the field every day and we're real solid."
First-round pick Kyle Zimmer, taken fifth overall in June's First-Year Player Draft, had another strong outing for the Surprise Royals on Monday. The right-hander pitched three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out five against the Arizona Rangers.
The role of part-time pitcher has seemingly followed outfielder Mitch Maier to Triple-A Omaha. Maier appeared twice as a pitcher over the past two seasons for the Royals, and he was back on the mound for Omaha on Monday. The right-handed Maier worked the ninth inning for the Storm Chasers, allowing two unearned runs in a 16-6 loss.
Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.