The Royals announced that Bruce Chen is being placed on the 15-day disabled list, and Aaron Brooks has been called up from Triple-A Omaha to take the open spot on the big league club. Chen has been dealing with back soreness lately, and actually received an epidural to try and help soothe the pain, but to no avail. Chen got off to a rough start this season, posting an 7.45 ERA in 14 starts.
Chen was slated to start on Saturday against the Tigers, but Ned Yost has indicated that Danny Duffy would be starting in his place, although he will be on a pitch count of about 65 pitches. Even though Duffy has improved his efficiency a bit – the last 2 appearances notwithstanding – that number of pitches likely won’t allow him to go very deep into the game, which is why the team opted to bring Brooks back to Kansas City. Brooks was called up earlier this season, but he did not make an appearance in the four games during which he was in a Royals’ uniform. I’m pretty sure that isn’t going to happen this time, though.
Brooks has pitched 15 innings for Omaha this season, with a 4.80 ERA, 8 strikeouts, and 4 walks. He doesn’t have elite stuff, but his command has typically been great, and his sinker generates a lot of ground balls. His pitching style is in stark contrast to Duffy, so it could be interesting to see how the Tigers fare if and when Brooks enters the game tomorrow. The Royals are obviously hoping the two pitchers can combine to get them as many innings as possible, so the bullpen can get a bit of a rest after being used heavily in the last few games.
With a strong showing against Detroit this weekend, the Royals could take over 1st place in the division, which means Duffy and Brooks need to be effective, particularly against a Tigers’ lineup that can do quite a bit of damage.