The Royals have placed right-handed pitcher Jakob Junis on the 10-day disabled list with lower back inflammation and have called up right-handed pitcher Glenn Sparkman. Junis was scheduled to pitch the series finale against the Red Sox on Sunday, but instead that starting assignment will go to right-hander Heath Fillmyer.
Junis had struggled in his last five starts, giving up 29 runs in 27 innings, including 12 home runs. Overall he has an ERA of 5.13 with a FIP of 5.47 and he leads all of baseball in home runs given up with 24. Junis got off to a terrific start, so the Royals would be wise to handle him with kid gloves, as he is one of the few young bright spots this season for the team. The Royals are already facing a decimated rotation with starters Jesse Hahn, Nate Karns, Eric Skoglund, and Ian Kennedy already on the disabled list.
Fillmyer will make his first career Major League start today. He was acquired last winter from the Athletics along with Hahn for pitcher Ryan Buchter and outfielder Brandon Moss. He has made three appearances with the Royals this year, giving up two runs on four hits with five strikeouts and three walks in nine innings of work.
Sparkman is a 26-year old right-hander taken in the 20th round of the 2013 draft by the Royals. He made his Major League debut last year as a Rule 5 pick with the Blue Jays, but gave up seven runs in one inning in his only start and was returned to the Royals. He has worked as a starter for AA Northwest Arkansas and AAA Omaha and has a 3.96 ERA across both levels with 61 strikeouts and just 11 walks in 88 2⁄3 innings pitched.
Ned Yost also announced Jason Hammel will move to the bullpen after struggling his last few starts, and Burch Smith will start Wednesday against the Twins. Hammel had given up 27 runs in 17 2⁄3 innings over his last four starts and overall has a 6.16 ERA and a league-leading 11 losses. Burch Smith, a Rule 5 draft pick from the Rays, has a 5.40 ERA in 38 1⁄3 innings this year. He has made seven Major League starts in his career before, all in 2013 with the Padres.