The KC Royals put reliever Luke Hochevar on the 15-day disabled list with symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome. The Kansas City Royals recalled lefty Brooks Pounders from AAA Omaha to take Hochevar’s place.
The Associated Press report explains that thoracic outlet syndrome is a condition where the blood vessels or nerves get compressed between the collarbone and the top of the rib cage creating pain. The Injury might be why Hochevar’s ERA ballooned to 8.53 in July after he notched an outstanding 2.81 ERA through June 30.
Hochevar’s terrible July took what had been a good start where he claimed the “fireman” role and turned it into a disappointing 3.86 ERA for 2016.
The immediate take-away from the 32-year-old Hochevar’s injury is that it will kill any possibility that the KC Royals will deal him before the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline. Hochevar had drawn some interest from teams like the Giants and Nationals who need bullpen help and are aware that he’s in the final year of his contract. With many considering the Kansas City Royals to be in the process of falling out of the AL playoff race, their rental pieces are drawing offers.
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If Hochevar does have thoracic outlet syndrome, he could require surgery that will make his ability to pitch from the beginning of the 2017 season unlikely. He should be able to return sometime after the season begins if he must go under the knife to address the problem.
Of course, if Luke Hochevar requires a surgical repair, he will miss the remainder of the 2016 season.
The injuries continue to pile up on the 2016 KC Royals, which has impaired their attempt to defend their 2015 title right out of the gate. At this point, 2016 is beginning to look like a development year for young players like Cheslor Cuthbert, Whit Merrifield, Brett Eibner, Brian Flynn, Raul Mondesi, and Brooks Pounders.
Pounders has enjoyed an outstanding age 25 season at AAA Omaha that has put him on the prospect radar (5-1, 2.82 ERA, 10.5 K/9 in 70.1 IP). Though Pounders has been blasted by major-league hitters in an earlier call-up to Kansas City (13.50 ERA in 4.0 IP as a reliever), he carries some promise. I’d like to see what he’d do with an opportunity to start.
Though such a chance is unlikely to come soon with the KC Royals still able to dream about a late rush, he might get a start late in the season if Kansas City falls out of the race.