The Royals have shut down reliever Luke Hochevar with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament. Hochevar will not pitch at all for the next three weeks. He tweaked the elbow in his outing Monday against the White Sox. Ned Yost says a May/June return for Hochevar is a "best case scenario."
Luke, the only #1 overall pick in franchise history, posted a 1.92 ERA in 58 games last year as a reliever after struggling for five seasons as a starter. The thirty-year old right-hander will earn $5.21 million this year. Technically, the Royals could still cut him and be obligated to pay just 1/6 of his salary, but this a highly unlikely scenario.
Injuries to the ulnar collateral ligament are commonly associated with "Tommy John surgery", which typically keeps pitchers out for a full year. Recent Royals pitchers to undergo Tommy John surgery include Felipe Paulino, Danny Duffy, Blake Wood, and Joakim Soria.