CHICAGO – If the Royals were in the market for a versatile veteran, Jamey Carroll could hardly have been more convincing than he was last Monday, when he fired a 1-2-3 inning against them from the pitcher’s mound.
“That’s when they knew he was a true utility guy,” assistant general manager Rob Antony joked Sunday. “He can play anywhere.”
He’ll play in a Royals uniform from now on, after the Twins traded Carroll to Kansas City, a transaction that was consummated almost as a favor to the 11-year veteran, Antony said. With no reason for a building-for-the-future team like Minnesota to give a 39-year-old infielder playing time the rest of the year, Antony said the Twins were willing to find a contender for whom he might contribute. Kansas City, which entered Sunday 4½ games out of a wild card spot, was interested.
“This is about an opportunity for Jamey,” Antony said, and while the Twins may receive a player to be determined, it’s also possible the payoff will be cash.
Still, Antony said, “He’ll be missed in this clubhouse.”
And vice versa. “I love these guys in this room. I’ve had a lot of fun, got a lot of great friends that I’ll have for a long time,” Carroll said between hugs with his teammates. “It’s going to be a little different to be on the other side. I know [Kansas City] is a good young ballclub that’s playing very well, so it’s exciting to go and be in that situation.”
The Twins will fill Carroll’s roster spot before Monday night’s game against Cleveland at Target Field, Antony said.
With the Twins determined to devote playing time to young players, Carroll has sat largely unused this season, starting only 46 games, including Sunday. He batted .230 this season, and was so marginalized on a team that is playing for 2014 and beyond, he volunteered to pitch an inning last Monday against, coincidentally enough, the Royals.
Carroll, who made it clear he had not requested a trade, seemed a little stunned by the news, broken to him shortly after he went 1-for-4 with a run scored in his final game as a Twin. “I’ve never had this happen before, so it’s obviously a unique feeling. But at the same time, I’m excited. They’re a team that’s playing good ball, we’ve just seen that firsthand,” Carroll said of K.C., which last week won two of three games from the Twins. “I look forward to talking to them and seeing how this comes about, what the situation is going to be.”
The Royals have been searching for a solution at second base, Carroll’s most frequent position over his career with Montreal, Washington, Colorado, Cleveland and the Dodgers, so he may get playing time there. And he’ll be asked to be a teacher and stabilizing influence in a clubhouse full of young players.
That’s the role the Twins envisioned for him in Minnesota when he signed before the 2012 season.
“I’m disappointed we weren’t better while he was here,” Antony said.
Carroll, whose wife and 5-year-old twins live in Minnesota during the season, flew home with his former team, then planned to report as soon as possible to the Royals. He’ll be back at Target Field in only 15 days, when the Royals visit Aug. 27-29.
• Ryan Doumit will take a concussion test Monday, but after doing several laps around the U.S. Cellular Field track before Sunday’s game, reported no lingering symptoms of a concussion. He expects to be ready to be activated when he is eligible on Thursday.
• Darin Mastroianni was out of the Rochester lineup on Sunday because of a sore knee. His rehabilitation assignment expires on Thursday.