On Friday afternoon, the Royals informed Bob Dutton that right-hander Wade Davis would be skipping his next scheduled start due to shoulder soreness.
Cue panic from Royals fans.
So far this spring, Davis has made two spring starts and has covered five innings. He’s been effective, giving up no runs and no walks and just three singles. He’s hit a batter but has three strikeouts. Unofficially, he’s thrown 68 pitches, 42 of which went for strikes.
Originally, Davis was set to pitch on Saturday, but Yordano Ventura will start against the San Francisco Giants in his place. In the meantime, Davis is still throwing on the side, but the Royals aren’t pushing him for a few days. Ned Yost said that it’s “slight” soreness and that they want to keep it that way.
Obviously, any injury question brings up bad memories of last year’s team. Not to dig up frightening memories, but the Royals opened the season with Joakim Soria and Blake Wood shut down and Salvador Perez and Manuel Pina recovering from meniscus surgery. Then Danny Duffy tore his UCL. Then Felipe Paulino did the same. The Royals didn’t have the depth to handle it last season. Even though they do in 2013, Davis is counted on as the fourth starter and his performance so far has justified that job security. Since he’s still throwing and not shut down, it could just be an completely minor blip that doesn’t come up again.
But you’d rather there be no issues than slight ones. Especially when it’s a joint like the shoulder. For now, there’s little need to worry, but if it turns that Davis gets skipped again or he comes back and is ineffective, it’s going to increase the anxiety. The Royals could put Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen in the rotation and still have Luis Mendoza as a long reliever and potential backup starter. They can weather a storm, but not a big one.
A potential Davis injury would be a hefty blow after the price paid to bring him along with James Shields to Kansas City. The Royals had him in the deal because they believe he can be a starter. Shifting him to the bullpen limits his value and a significant injury would cost him a lot of time. Davis is under contract through 2014 but the Royals have team options for 2015, 2016 and 2017. There’s been no report that he’s at any risk of missing time beyond this spring start, but immediate reactions jump to the worst case scenario. If they can get him to work out as a starter, he adds a lot more value to their return for Wil Myers and company. An injury would wipe that out.
For now, though, the Royals are saying Davis will miss just the one start. Let’s hope that prognosis stands.