Top Prospects: Donnie Joseph, LHP, Royals

KANSAS CITY -- All of a sudden, there's a strong rookie tinge for the Royals' bullpen. There are three of them -- left-hander Donnie Joseph and right-handers Michael Mariot and Aaron Brooks, all called up from Triple-A Omaha.

Brooks arrived two days ago when the need for a seventh reliever arose. Joseph and Mariot checked in on Monday when left-handers Tim Collins and Francisley Bueno went onto the 15-day disabled list.

Like Brooks, Mariot arrived with no Major League experience. Joseph didn't have much -- just 5 2/3 innings in three different stints with the Royals last year.

"Even when I found out yesterday, it's like the first time every time," Joseph said. "You're excited, you're looking forward to it. Excited to tell your parents and friends. It never gets old getting called up to the big leagues."

Joseph is big on strikeouts -- and on walks. Example: last season for Omaha he had 84 strikeouts in 54 2/3 innings, along with 40 walks.

"That's always the thing on me," he said. "That's what Ned [Yost] was just telling me, to continue to pound the strike zone and work on your command. That's something I have to work on each and every time I go out there."

With Collins and Bueno going on the DL, Joseph is the only left-hander in the bullpen. He's known as an effective left-on-left specialist.

Mariot spent part of last season operating as a closer at Omaha, notching 11 saves. He also got the last five outs against Salt Lake when the Storm Chasers won the Pacific Coast League championship.

He and Joseph got the word Sunday from Omaha manager Brian Poldberg.

"I threw two innings yesterday and Poldberg called me into his office and let me know," Mariot said.

Was he shocked? "Yes, I was actually," he said.

"I've liked Mariot since I saw him last spring," Yost said. "Did a great job in Spring Training with us, closed a lot of ballgames out in Major League Spring Training. Has a good fastball, a good slider, was never intimidated by the situation."

Joseph's concerns with command are on Yost's mind.

"He's what you call one of those top-step guys, where you're always standing on the top step wondering," Yost said. "But he always finds a way to get out of it. He ended up walking four the other day but pitched 2 1/3 innings I think and did OK."

Collins, Bueno placed on 15-day DL

MIN@KC: Collins fans three batters in relief

KANSAS CITY -- Left-handers Tim Collins and Francisley Bueno went from a disastrous inning to the disabled list in short order.

Collins and Bueno combined on a four-run ninth inning in Sunday's 5-1 loss to the White Sox. Immediately afterward they were under the care of head athletic trainer Nick Kenney. By Monday they were on the DL.

"Collins came in after the game and told Nick that he's had some stiffness and some soreness in his elbow," manager Ned Yost said. "They gave him an MRI today and there's some inflammation in his elbow so we're going to shut him down for five or five days and go from there."

Both Collins and Bueno will have to be out at least 15 days.

"Bueno's got a sprained finger," Yost said. "He reached out on a ball yesterday that Omar [Infante] ended up catching but he sprained his pinkie finger on his throwing hand. It makes it very difficult to grip a baseball. It's probably a five- or six-day injury but it's too tough early in the season to go short in the pen."

Collins has had two rough outings. In the season's second game at Detroit, he issued two walks and gave up an RBI single in the 10th inning to take a 2-1 loss. On Sunday, he also dealt out two walks and a single and was charged with three runs, puffing his ERA to an unsightly 36.00.

"I knew something wasn't right. His velocity was down," Yost said. "He's always struggled to command his fastball but has always been able to work around it and command his secondary pitches but he was struggling to do that so I had a sense something wasn't quite right."

Yost reported that the MRI was "clean" and showed only minor inflammation.

Bueno also appeared in two games. In the home opener against the White Sox, he was charged with an unearned run. On Sunday, he gave up an RBI double and the two-run single which injured his finger.

Left-hander Donnie Joseph and right-hander Michael Mariot were called up from Triple-A Omaha.

Coleman nearing return from DL

CWS@KC: Royals are introduced before Opening Day

KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Louis Coleman is back in the Royals' clubhouse and soon might be summoned off his stay on the disabled list.

Possibly by Tuesday, the first day he's eligible to return from a jammed middle finger on his pitching hand. That's been a problem since the first days of Spring Training when he was struck by a ball.

"Everything feels good and is pretty close to where it should be," Coleman said. "It's getting pretty close to where I don't even feel it or worry about it. Day-to-day things around the house are normal. It's just the unique thing of throwing a baseball was the only thing bothering it and, for the most part, that's gone."

The bone bruise in his finger was supposed to take about eight weeks to heal and, Coleman noted, it's been exactly 7 1/2 weeks.

Everything seemed fine with Coleman's finger in a late Cactus League game in which he struck out the side against the Rangers. Appearances were deceiving.

"That's probably the worst it felt," Coleman said. "But I'd learned how to pitch with how it was feeling. Then like the next game I didn't feel a thing for the next 20 pitches or whatever and it was an entirely different feeling. It was a real roller-coaster."

Coleman threw a side session at Kauffman Stadium on Monday and the Royals were to evaluate how he felt afterward.