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Why KC Royals call-up Nick Loftin is ready to seize upon his latest opportunity

Kansas City Royals utilityman Nick Loftin had an early wake-up call. On Sunday, he started his day around 5 a.m. because he had a flight to catch.

And the trip to St. Petersburg, Florida wasn’t going to be easy.

But Loftin knew a return to the Royals would be worth the lack of sleep.

“I ended up flying to Atlanta and had a little bit of a delay there,” he said. “I got into Tampa around like 12:40 p.m.”

The Royals recalled Loftin from Triple-A Omaha after second baseman Michael Massey sustained a low-back ligament strain Friday. The injury forced Massey to exit in the sixth inning of KC’s series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays.

As a result, the Royals placed Massey on the 10-day injured list and opened the door for Loftin.

Loftin found out about his promotion on Saturday night. Now, he is set to reprise his utility role with the Royals. This season, Loftin has a .258 batting average and six RBIs in 37 plate appearances.

On Sunday, he was inserted as a pinch-hitter against the Rays. He stayed in the game and went hitless in two plate appearances.

“That’s what I’ve known to do,” Loftin said. “It’s what I accepted as my role on this team. You know, whatever gets me in the lineup to help the team win.”

Loftin has played all over the infield. He can play first base, second base and third base. He also has experience in the outfield.

The Royals have multiple bench options, as well. They can deploy Loftin, Adam Frazier and Garrett Hampson in different positions as needed, and each can affect a game in specific ways.

Frazier, for instance, has drawn starts at second base and in the outfield. He made a stellar highlight play in Detroit by robbing a potential home run. And Hampson has filled a backup role in center field to spell teammate Kyle Isbel.

“We think the world of Nick,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “We think he is going to be a really good major-league player. The opportunity hasn’t been there yet on a consistent basis and we will see how he mixes in here.”

Loftin does not seem too worried about his playing time. He is ready to help the team win whenever his number is called, in whatever capacity is needed.

“I’m excited, you know, especially with the team that we have right now,” Loftin said. “Winning games is a lot of motivation and that’s a big factor into it.

“I’m here to help win games and I’m excited to play and excited to be here.”