KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hunter Dozier’s time with the Kansas City Royals is coming to a close.

The Royals designated Hunter Dozier for assignment in order to bring up third baseman Nicky Lopez, who returned from the 10-day injured list after an emergency appendectomy he received at the beginning of the month.

“It was an extremely tough decision based on who he is as a person, as a teammate, as a worker. We think the world of him as a person,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “It was a collective decision that we thought was best at this time for the team.”

Lopez also weighed in on his teammate and close friend’s departure from the team.

“It’s my closest friend on the team. It sucks. Obviously, no ones ever prepared for it, and the best I can do is reach out to him,” Lopez said. “The clubhouse loves ‘Doz,’ we all love ‘Doz,’ everyone who crosses paths with ‘Doz’ loves Doj. We’ll always keep in touch, maybe this is just kind of something that needs to happen along his journey, and you know, kind of a fresh start.”

“Always rooting for him, always pulling for him and I know he’ll be alright.”

Dozier is in the third season of a four year, $25 million contract with the Royals and is owed $7.5 million this season and $9.2 million next season to go along with a $1 million buyout in 2025.

The Royals selected Dozier eighth overall in the 2013 MLB Draft. Dozier made his Major League debut on September 2, 2016.

He had his best year with the team in 2019, belting a career-high 26 home runs to go along with a .279 batting average and 84 RBIs.

So far this season, Dozier was batting .183 with two home runs and nine RBIs in 29 games. He has seven days to be traded or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.

The former first-round pick never fully found his footing with the franchise after his breakout season in 2019. The Royals thanked Dozier for his contributions in a post on social media.