The Minnesota Twins have optioned Canadian left-hander Scott Diamond and centre fielder Aaron Hicks to Triple-A Rochester.

The Twins made the moves on Thursday after both players struggled in a 7-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals. Diamond (5-10) gave up seven runs — six earned — on nine hits in five innings. He has failed to pitch at least six innings in four of his last five starts.

A native of Guelph, Ont., Diamond was signed by the Atlanta Braves as an amateur free agent in 2007. He made his MLB debut with the Twins in 2011.

The 27-year-old was 12-9 with a 3.54 earned-run average through 27 starts with the Twins last season. He underwent surgery in December to remove bone chips from his throwing elbow.

Hicks went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts to drop his batting average to .192. Since the All-Star break, he is hitting .162 (7 for 43).

The Twins recalled outfielder Oswaldo Arcia to take one of the roster spots. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire says they will wait until Saturday to make a pitching move.

Canadian Francis also demoted

The Colorado Rockies optioned Canadian left-hander Jeff Francis to triple-A Colorado Springs to clear a roster spot for right-hander Chad Bettis.

Bettis was called up from Double-A Tulsa to start in his major league debut against the Braves on Thursday night.

The Rockies are without outfielders Michael Cuddyer and Carlos Gonzalez for Thursday night's game. Manager Walt Weiss says Cuddyer is away on a family emergency and it is not known when he will return.

Gonzalez left Wednesday night's game after aggravating his sprained right middle finger. Weiss says Gonzalez will be rested a couple of days to see if the injury improves.

Francis, of North Delta, B.C., is 2-5 with a 6.63 ERA in 12 games, including 11 starts. He allowed three hits and two runs in 2 1-3 innings against the Braves on Tuesday.