Outfielder Bubba Starling was a late scratch from last night’s lineup against the Cubs and was placed on the Injured List for undisclosed reasons in a flurry of moves Wednesday evening. The Royals also placed pitcher Glenn Sparkman on the Injured list with a right forearm strain and recalled catcher Meibrys Viloria and pitcher Scott Blewett to replace them on the roster.
Starling was looking to take advantage of the absence of Hunter Dozier in the lineup, but had struggled with the bat, hitting .211/.273/.263 in 22 plate appearances. He did lace a pinch-hit RBI double back on July 30 against Detroit, but has continued to strike out at a high rate. Starling’s injury combined with Franchy Cordero experiencing wrist tightness that is day-to-day could mean more playing time for Brett Phillips.
Sparkman was looking to transition from the rotation to the bullpen, hoping shorter stints could add to his velocity, but he had been inconsistent so far this year with a 5.40 ERA and six runs allowed in five innings, although with a 2.79 FIP. Sparkman has found improved control with just one walk, but has struck out just two hitters and allowed nine hits. He had given up five runs in his last two outings against the White Sox last week.
Viloria joins the team after a short stint at the alternate site. The 23-year old has hit .219/.263/.294 in 52 games over the last two season with the Royals. He had a stint on the Injured List with an undisclosed ailment during Summer Camp but returned on July 23.
Scott Blewett is a former second-round pick for the Royals out of Baker High School in New York in 2014. The 24-year old right-hander had a nice season in Double-A with a 3.55 ERA in five starts, but had trouble in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, with an 8.52 ERA and 56 strikeouts to 46 walks in 81 1/3 innings for Triple-A Omaha. Blewett has a tall frame, and throws a fastball that sits at 92-96 mph, according to Baseball America. He has an average curveball that can flash plus and an average change up. They ranked him as the #15 prospect in the system in 2019, but he fallen off their list this year.
Viloria and Blewett may not be on the roster for long, teams must cut down to 28 players today. The Royals also announced catcher Óscar Hernández cleared outright waivers and was outrighted to alternate site. Hernández appeared in four games, going 2-for-4 with a run scored.