The Royals placed Gil Meche on the 15-day DL today with shoulder bursitis. To replace him on the 25-man roster, they recalled RHP Victor Marte from Omaha. Bruce Chen will start tomorrow in Meche’s place.
The move isn’t terribly surprising, as he’d missed the last month of the 2009 season with back spasms, a condition which also contributed to his shoulder issues. Some of that may go back to his notorious 132 pitch shutout on June 16 last year. After one below average start and a disastrous start, Meche complained of a “dead arm”. So Trey Hillman sent him back out for his next start, where Meche threw 99 pitches through 5 innings – and Hillman kept him out there to throw 121 total pitches.
Meche started the year on the disabled list after missing the last two weeks of spring training with shoulder bursitis. Since coming off the DL, Meche has thrown 939 pitches in 48.2 innings – an average of 19.3 per inning, so his efficiency leaves much to be desired. He’s walked more than he’s struck out (30/34 K/BB ratio) and only 59% of his pitches have been strikes. His fastball velocity seems to be normal so the injury seems more detrimental to his command than anything else.
In 2010, Meche has surpassed 100 pitches in five of his nine starts, including starts of 128 pitches and 122 on May 8 and 19 respectively.
He’ll miss up to three starts, and probably more. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn of setbacks as he makes his way back to the active roster. He’s still under contract through 2011, so hopefully, he can make a recovery quickly this year and stay in better condition for next season.
Marte returns to the club after only making one appearance in his previous promotion – a 2.1 inning mop-up assignment in the Royals 11-1 loss at Tampa Bay. Marte gave up two walks, two hits and one run in the appearance only to be sent back to Omaha the next day when Chris Getz was activated from the DL.
Bruce Chen has a 2.89 ERA in 9.1 innings for the Royals out of the bullpen in 2010. He made 9 starts for the Royals in 2009, going 1-6 in that role with a 5.81 ERA.