The Royals have placed pitcher Ian Kennedy on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain. No corresponding move has been announced. Kennedy complained of muscle tightness after his last start Friday in Seattle, but was expecting to make his next start.
The right-hander has struggled much of the year with a 5.11 ERA and 4.80 FIP in 17 starts. He tossed eight shutout innings against the Reds back on June 12, but in three starts since has given up 10 runs in 18 innings.
Kennedy battled hamstring tightness on his right side much of last year, but still managed to make 30 starts. An oblique injury could keep him out several weeks, which could end his string of eight seasons in a row with 30 or more starts. The 33-year old is in the third year of a five-year contract that will pay him $33 million over the next two seasons.
Kennedy was scheduled to start tomorrow against Cleveland, but it seems likely Trevor Oaks will be called up in his place. Oaks will be on four days’ rest by then, and he has been pitching well in Omaha with a 2.00 ERA in 13 starts in AAA. He has been up a couple times with the Royals and has given up eight runs and 19 hits in 9 2⁄3 innings in three appearances. The Royals already have starting pitchers Nate Karns and Eric Skoglund on the disabled list.
I don’t ever think it’s a good thing when a player gets hurt, but I don’t think this will be all that damaging for the Royals either. We know what Kennedy is at this point - he’s a fifth starter at best, with very little hope he’ll revert back to his numbers at his peak many seasons ago. The hope of him having any kind of trade value is long gone. For the Royals, his main purpose is to soak up innings so they don’t have to throw out random guys from the minors before they are ready.
In this case, the Royals could benefit from seeing what Trevor Oaks can do. He’s 25, not particularly young for a prospect, and he is clearly dominating AAA, with little left to prove. His pedigree is not great - his strikeout numbers are rather low - but it would worthwhile for the Royals to throw him out there for a number of starts just to see what they have.