For the KC Royals, losing is no longer headline news. Suffice it to say, without belaboring the unfortunate details, that Cleveland delivered the club its sixth straight loss Saturday, a 10-6 defeat not significantly dissimilar from any of the other 64 it's suffered this season. The Royals must beat the Guardians this afternoon to avoid another series sweep and a winless road trip.
There is, however, other news about the American League Central's last-place team.
A KC Royals starter is slated to make his return to the mound this afternoon
Ryan Yarbrough, a lefthanded pitcher Kansas City signed during its so-so offseason, is scheduled to start this afternoon against Cleveland at Progressive Field. While that might not be particularly newsworthy on any other day, it is today.
It's been, after all, nine weeks since Yarbrough last appeared on a major league mound and Ryan Noda's line drive smashed into his head in a game against Oakland. Yarbrough suffered several fractures and has been on the Injured List since.
Fortunately, all signs point to a successful recovery—the six-year big league veteran has been pitching on minor league rehab assignments since mid-June and, over three innings at Rookie level in Arizona and another 14.2 at Triple-A Omaha, struck out 20, walked only two, and surrendered five runs. He was 1-4, 6.15 when forced to the IL.
Yarbrough will face Shane Bieber (5-5, 3.66) in the 12:40 p.m. CDT contest, the last game the Royals will play until after the All-Star Break—they return to Kansas City Friday to kick off a seven-game homestand against the Rays and Tigers.
The KC Royals have three picks in tonight's opening rounds of the MLB Draft
Kansas City fans have more baseball action to check in on after today's series finale in Cleveland. The 2023 MLB Draft begins at 6 p.m. CDT on ESPN, MLB Network, and MLB.com (streamed), and the Royals get to choose three players before the evening ends.
On tap tonight are Rounds 1 and 2 of the annual amateur talent selection extravaganza that is a major feature of pre-All-Star Game festivities. Included will be Compensatory and Competitive Balance picks and the Prospect Promotion Incentive pick Seattle earned when Julio Rodríguez won the 2022 AL Rookie of the Year award.
The Royals have the eighth overall selection, which they'll make after Pittsburgh, Washington, Detroit, Texas, Minnesota, Oakland and Cincinnati pick in that order. (The entire selection sequence is here). Kansas City chooses fifth in the second round and has the fifth Competitive Balance B pick when that round ends. Rounds 3-10 are set for Monday, and the 20-round affair concludes Tuesday before the All-Star Game.
Late Saturday substitution triggers some KC Royals trade speculation
Trade rumors, the natural and always fascinating by-product of baseball's yearly midsummer trade deadline, are starting to swirl. And with the 2023 trade period slated to end August 1, Saturday was no exception.
The Royals released their lineup well before the day's game against Cleveland, but the late pull of Edward Olivares spawned a few social media rumblings that he might be involved in a trade.
But that wasn't the case ... at least not Saturday. It turned out, as reported by Royals announcer Joel Goldberg via Twitter, that Olivares simply experienced back tightness.
A KC Royals prospect had a disappointing Futures Game appearance Saturday
Will Klein, the Kansas City organization's lone representative in the Futures Game, another key component of this year's All-Star Game lead-up, didn't fare well in Saturday's contest featuring top-flight minor leaguers.
Klein, a reliever who currently pitches for Triple-A Omaha, worked a third of the second inning and gave up two runs, a hit and two walks. Unfortunately, that was enough to saddle him with the loss in the National League prospects' 5-0 victory.
Klein was 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA in 20 games at Double-A Northwest Arkansas before his promotion to Omaha, where he's 0-0, 1.93 in seven appearances.