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Royals demote Jackson Kowar

Joel Payamps returns from a family emergency

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Kansas City Royals Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals announced today they have demoted right-hander Jackson Kowar to Triple-A Omaha and have activated reliever Joel Payamps from a family emergency. Kowar pitched in just one game for the Royals this season, entering Sunday’s game against Cleveland as a long reliever after Kris Bubic was lifted in the first inning. Kowar entered the game in the second and gave up 11 hits and 7 runs in 3 13 innings of work.

Kowar has struggled in almost every outing he has had in the big leagues since he made his debut in June of last year. He failed to get to the third inning of his first two starts, and lasted just five innings in two of his eight starts, allowing fewer than four runs just once. He has a 12.03 career ERA in 33 23 innings for the Royals, the highest in club history for anyone with at least 30 innings pitched.

The 25-year old right-hander certainly has the pedigree for success having been a first-round pick out of the University of Florida in 2018, and earning some plaudits as a top 100 prospect coming up through the system. He was named as the club’s minor league pitcher of the year after posting a 34.6 ERA with 115 strikeouts in 80 2/3 innings for Triple-A Omaha.

Kowar has relied mostly on a fastball/change up mix, with his breaking pitches a work in progress. This off-season he decided to go with a slider, mixing 14 breaking balls among his 71 pitches on Sunday. But his fastball remains very hittable, with opponents hitting .370 off it last year, and hits in six out of ten at-bats on Sunday.

Payamps posted a 4.43 ERA in 20 1/3 innings for the Royals last year with 16 strikeouts and just 3 walks. In parts of three big leagues seasons with the Royals, Diamondbacks, and Blue Jays, the 28-year old has a 3.45 ERA in 57 1/3 innings.