The Kansas City Royals have not caught the injury bug that has already swept through Atlanta and Arlington this season, but a couple of players on 25-man roster are currently dealing with some minor ailments.
Thursday's original probable pitcher, Bruce Chen, has been scratched from his start against the Houston Astros thanks to a "tight left glute muscle." Chen told Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star that he could have pitched tonight, but since it's early in the season there is no reason to push it.
James Shields will start tonight in place of Chen, and Jason Vargas will start on Friday. Both are pitching on five days rest thanks to Monday's off-day. Chen will attempt to start again on Saturday at home against the Minnesota Twins.
Ned Yost brought up an interesting point to McCullough about the current state of the starting rotation; he doesn't like have Chen and Vargas pitch back-to-back, since they are both soft-tossing lefties. I've heard other managers talk about breaking their similar pitchers up, but I'v never read a study on the issue.
Yost talked about Cain's injury with Joel Goldberg of FSKC after Wednesday night's victory:
Ned Yost on Cain: Grade 1 strain of groin, just a day to day thing. Happened on play running to 1st— Joel Goldberg (@goldbergkc) April 17, 2014
Cain has enjoyed a quick start to the season, hitting .333/.364/.381 in his first 44 plate appearances. His offensive numbers, however, are being fueled by a .412 BABIP and he hasn't shown increased plate discipline or power this year.
The outfielder has missed time the past two seasons with injuries. Cain missed time early in 2012 with a groin injury, only appearing in 61 games. The 28-year-old played in 115 games last year, but hit the DL in August with a strained left oblique muscle.
There's little reason to play Cain tonight if he's not completely healthy. The Royals can start Jarrod Dyson in center against the right-handed Scott Feldman, and let Cain fully heal. Kansas City is a better club with Cain on the roster, so the team should proceed with caution.
Let's hope these two just need a couple of days off to get healthy and ready to play. The Royals don't have a ton of depth or a large margin for error, so injuries to any starter need to be handled with prejudice.