Royals manager Ned Yost has announced, through Mike Swanson, that Yordano Ventura will miss his start tomorrow against the Twins due to mid-back tightness. Liam Hendriks will be called up from Omaha to make the spot start in Ventura’s absence. Certainly this isn’t the kind of thing the Royals would like to do in the middle of a playoff race, but if the injury is causing him too much discomfort, it’s much better to miss a start now than later.
There has been some concern from fans and media alike that Ventura would need to have his innings monitored as the season wore on, considering he’s never thrown more than the 150 he threw in 2013, and he’s already at 145.2 innings this season, with another month (plus more?) to go. That being said, this doesn’t appear to be an issue with fatigue, as Ventura’s velocity has remained pretty steady in his last several outings. I’m no doctor, but a stiff back, on its surface, doesn’t seem to be a cause for severe worry.
Hendriks came over to Kansas City as a part of the trade that sent Danny Valencia to the Blue Jays, and the 25-year old righty has been great for Triple-A Omaha since joining the organization, throwing 35 innings with a 2.83 ERA and 9 strikeouts per 9 innings. Hendriks’ calling card has always been his command, and it’s been extremely good. He’s walked only 6 batters while pitching for the Storm Chasers.
While Hendriks has been solid at the minor league level, to call his major league career disappointing would be a rather large understatement. In 169.1 career innings spanning 4 seasons, he has an ERA of 6.06, and his peripherals aren’t much better, with a FIP of 5.38. Hopefully his high strikeout rate in the minors can translate for at least this one start against the organization that signed him out of Australia back in 2007.
The Royals will need to make a move on the 25-man roster to make room for Hendriks, so they should be announcing that by tomorrow. As long as the training staff clears Ventura, this will only be one missed start in the home stretch, which would be huge for the Royals as they enter the final month of the season.