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Jason Vargas to begin rehab assignment

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The Royals will need Vargas to be healthy in 2017.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Vargas, who has been out since he was diagnosed with a UCL tear last July, will begin a rehab assignment for AA Northwest Arkansas on Wednesday, according to beat writer Rustin Dodd. Vargas required Tommy John surgery, which has kept him out over a year. Typically, Tommy John surgery requires a recovery time of 12-16 months.

Vargas signed a four-year, $32 million deal with the Royals before the 2014 season that will run through the 2017 season. He has earned $8.5 million this year, although $6 million of his salary was covered by insurance this season. Having him start for the Royals does not appear to jeopardize insurance coverage of his salary. Vargas will earn $8 million in 2017, when he will be 34 years old.

Vargas has a 3.76 ERA in 39 starts with the Royals with a 3.92 FIP and 6.1 strikeouts-per-nine innings. He made three starts in the 2014 post-season for the Royals, including starting Game 4 of the World Series in San Francisco.

A pitcher can spend up to 30 days on rehab assignment. The Royals also currently have Mike Minor on rehab assignment with AAA Omaha. Kris Medlen has also been out with injury and is facing hitters at the Royals’ facility in Arizona, but there is no timetable on his return. Vargas is expected to be part of the 2017 rotation along with Ian Kennedy, Yordano Ventura, and Danny Duffy.