Player health issues cloud the picture as the KC Royals move into July.
As if the stifling heat that typically envelops Kauffman Stadium in July won’t be bad enough, injury concerns, especially with the pitching staff, already hover over the club as it prepares for July.
A few days removed from surgery to repair a torn thumb UCL, Salvador Perez is out, certainly for the entire month and possibly for August. Although he was hitting only .211 when he went down last week, he’s tied with Bobby Witt Jr. for the club lead in homers and second to Witt in RBIs with 34. MJ Melendez and Cam Gallagher are splitting the catching duties, but Melendez’s major league growing pains are evident, especially behind the plate, and Gallagher doesn’t have Perez’s power. Both will need to have a good month if Kansas City is to improve in July.
Daniel Lynch has become, despite his 3-7 record, a rotation mainstay; he won’t pitch again until at least July 8, though, after a blister forced him to the 15-day Injured List a week ago. Because blisters can be pesky things—just ask Boston’s Rich Hill, whose infamous blisters have forced him out of action several times during an 18-year big league career—Lynch’s return could take longer.
Key bullpen piece Josh Staumont is also on the 15-day IL, where a neck strain put him Sunday after he hadn’t pitched for five days. His ability to step into what save situations Scott Barlow can’t will be missed.
Jake Brentz remains on the 60-day IL, where’s he’s been with a flexor strain since late April. Whether he returns this season, much less in July, remains to be seen.
And the Royals are certainly keeping a close eye on Zack Greinke. Although he’s 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA since returning from the IL last week, the flexor strain that sidelined him will bear watching.
If they want July to be their first winning month, the Royals can’t afford any more injuries.