The Royals have placed reliever Blaine Boyer on the 10-day disabled list with a back strain and have recalled pitcher Trevor Oaks from AAA Omaha. Boyer gave up two runs in an inning of work on Monday against the Twins and has a league-worst ERA of 11.76 among relievers with at least 20 innings pitched this year.
The recall of Oaks is not surprising considering the Royals had to use Scott Barlow for four innings of relief in the 14-inning win over Minnesota on Tuesday evening. The 25-year old right-hander has pitched well for Omaha this year, with a 2.50 ERA in 54 innings of work as a starter, and he last pitched on May 25, so he will be able to give some innings if needed. He will be asked to “piggyback” Brad Keller, who will be making his first Major League start, and will likely only pitch four or five innings. Oaks was up earlier this year with the Royals, making one start on April 28, when he gave up five runs in five innings against the White Sox.
That Boyer hit the disabled list is a bit of a surprise considering his woes. At this point, you have to wonder why the Royals are keeping him around. Sure, he seems like an all-around great guy who potentially saved lives when he took the wheel of the team bus earlier this year, and fights sex-trafficking in his spare time. But he has been an absolute disaster as a reliever this year, with no signs of getting better. Even if he does turn it around, he is a 36-year old with little upside, certainly an odd fit for a rebuilding team. Sure, he can serve as a placeholder until younger arms are ready, but it seems the Royals may be better off seeing what some of the arms in Omaha can do.
For now, Blaine Boyer is still officially part of the organization, but at least we won’t have to worry about him getting into games. Brad Keller takes on the Twins tonight at 7:15 CT.