KANSAS CITY -- Irving Falu has been playing professional baseball for a long time. Thursday, he finally got to put on a Major League jersey.
Falu was called up from Triple-A Omaha on Thursday to replace the injured Yuniesky Betancourt, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a high ankle sprain. Falu was drafted by the Royals in 2003, and he's been with the organization ever since. After 949 games in the Minors, he's on a big league roster for the first time.
The 28-year-old utility man was all smiles in the clubhouse before the Royals took on the Yankees. He kept reiterating how happy he was and thanked everyone he could think of. God, family and coaches were all recognized in an Academy Award-esque list of thank yous.
He recounted what he called a "weird" day on Wednesday, saying after the Storm Chasers' day game in Nashville, he headed to the mall to chill out. Around 10:30 p.m., his manager told him he was heading to the big leagues using just three words:
"You made it."
Royals manager Ned Yost said that Falu was called up because of his versatility. He's played games at three different positions so far this season in Omaha, and he'll be used to back up at second base, shortstop and third base. He can also play outfield.
And, oh yeah, he's a switch-hitter.
"It's got to be one of the biggest thrills of his life," Yost said. "You finally get to see a little reward for all the hard work you do. This kid hasn't worked hard just to be average at one position. He's worked hard to be average at four or five positions. And he hasn't worked hard to be a good hitter from one side. He's worked really, really hard on being a good hitter from both sides. He's put his time in, and he's got his opportunity. And for that, I'm excited."
Falu wasn't too worried about the specific role he'd be playing in Kansas City. He just wanted to make it clear that he'd continue to work as hard as he has to get there.
"If they need somebody, I can play everywhere," he said. "I don't care where I play. I'll do my best. When I go out, I go 100 percent."