The Royals have placed pitcher Nate Karns on the 10-day disabled list and have activated outfielder Alex Gordon from paternity leave. Karns left his last start on Friday against the Twins with forearm stiffness, and would be eligible to return on Wednesday, May 31 when the Royals play the Tigers.
Forearm injuries can sometimes be a precursor to Tommy John surgery, but typically it is a strain on the bottom of the arm, or the flexor muscle, while Karns is experiencing tightness on the top of his arm.
“He’s got stiffness up here and some fluid back here,” Yost said, pointing toward the elbow. “Which is keeping him from extending, which is probably why this is getting tight.”
Karns has a 4.17 ERA in 45 1⁄3 innings for the Royals this year, but has fared better as a starter with a 3.43 ERA in eight starts, including a 12-strikeout performance on May 13 against Baltimore. He has a history of injuries, missing half of last season with a back injury.
To replace Karns in the rotation, the Royals will give Miguel Almonte his first Major League start on Thursday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. The 24-year old right-hander had a 1.86 ERA in 29 2/3 innings for AA Northwest Arkansas with 35 strikeouts and just 6 walks, a terrific rebound after a disastrous 2016 seasons that saw him demoted a level from AAA. Almonte is in his second stint with the Royals this year, but has yet to make an appearance. He last pitched on May 15 and has not gone more than 63 pitches in an outing this month.
The start for Almonte allows the Royals to keep Ian Kennedy on his regular schedule and start on Friday after he left Sunday’s game after just two innings of work. The Royals have yet to announce a starter for Friday’s game against the Indians. Chris Young could also be an option to start if Kennedy is ailing. The Royals cannot bring Jake Junis back until June 1 unless he replaces someone going on the disabled list. Almonte’s start still leaves eight relievers in the bullpen.
Alex Gordon returns after being with his wife for the birth of his third child, daughter Joey Lynn Gordon.