Marsh avoid serious injury after comebacker, but heads to IL

Royals say right-hander suffered a contusion after taking a hot shot off his throwing arm

April 25th, 2024

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals received good and bad news on starter Alec Marsh on Thursday morning, a day after he was drilled by a 91.2 mph comebacker in the Royals’ win over the Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

The bad news was that an injured list seemed necessary after swelling showed on his right flexor, and the Royals officially placed Marsh on the 15-day IL with a right elbow contusion while calling up reliever and No. 18 prospect Will Klein.

The good news is the Royals are hopeful it’s a short, perhaps even minimum, IL stint for Marsh.

“All in all, he’s in good shape,” manager Matt Quatraro said. “We’re just playing it safe. He’s got some swelling in there, and he could maybe go out there and maybe not. But we just can’t take that chance with somebody that important to us going forward.”

Marsh will miss his next start Monday in Toronto and will be on the IL until at least May 9. He won’t throw Thursday and possibly Friday, Quatraro said, as the Royals wait for the swelling to go down. The X-rays taken after Marsh got hit Wednesday were all negative, but because the swelling is on his forearm flexor, the Royals are proceeding with extra caution.

“We need to see how he bounces back,” Quatraro said. “We think he’s good, but again, that’s why we couldn’t take that chance. He’s not going to know until he goes out there and really tries to cut it loose.”

Marsh hadn’t allowed a run when Blue Jays left fielder Addison Barger stepped to the plate with one out in the fifth inning on Wednesday. In a 1-2 count, Marsh threw Barger a fastball, and Barger hit a rocket right back at Marsh. It drilled Marsh right below the elbow on his forearm, but Marsh recovered quickly and had enough adrenaline to throw Barger out at first.

“I didn’t feel anything [right away],” Marsh said. “Only thing I was thinking about was, ‘Get the out, go for the ball.’”

Then, the pain settled in. Marsh grimaced and held his right arm as Quatraro and a trainer jogged to the mound. It was clear quickly that Marsh needed to be taken out; he didn’t have any grip strength, and he was already feeling tightness.

Officially diagnosed as a right elbow contusion, Marsh said postgame that he felt sore but plans on “bouncing back and being OK.” He had a nasty bruise and imprints of the baseball seams on his forearm.

“X-rays were negative, and all is good,” Marsh said Wednesday night. “I got some seams, but it’s not too swollen or anything. So just take it day by day. The progress we made from when it happened to now is great so far.”

Marsh was in a groove against the Blue Jays’ lineup, holding Toronto scoreless on two hits through 4 1/3 innings with two walks and one strikeout. He was helped along by some stellar Royals defense all over the field, including an impressive route and catch by left fielder MJ Melendez in the top of the fourth inning on a ball hit by Daniel Vogelbach to the left-center wall.

Marsh, the Royals’ No. 5 starter, has a 2.70 ERA in five starts this season. Who takes his spot in the rotation the next turn, which will come on Monday, is still to be determined. The Royals won’t make that decision until closer to Monday, whether it’s using the bullpen or turning to a spot starter from Triple-A.

Daniel Lynch IV last pitched on Tuesday, so he could be rested for a Monday start. Jonathan Bowlan is slated to throw Friday in Omaha.

On the 26-man roster right now, the Royals have Angel Zerpa, Matt Sauer and Tyler Duffey all stretched out to throw multiple innings if a bullpen game is needed. Long reliever Jordan Lyles IV is currently on the inactive list because of a personal matter, so he’s unavailable.

“We have not decided,” Quatraro said. “We could piece it that way, but we have not crossed that bridge. That spot comes back on Monday, and a lot can happen between now and then.”