Royals' rotation hits: Duffy, Singer on IL

Kansas City recalls McBroom, Zuber from Triple-A ahead of Brewers series

July 20th, 2021

As the Royals look for ways to right the ship after dropping eight of their last 10 games and 29 of 37 dating to June 5, losing key parts of an already thin rotation was the last thing the team needed entering Tuesday's series opener against the first-place Brewers.

Kansas City announced that it placed starters (left flexor strain) and (right shoulder fatigue) on the 10-day injured list on Tuesday morning, with Duffy’s placement retroactive to Saturday and Singer’s to Sunday.

Royals manager Mike Matheny said Duffy’s arm had been bothering him, and tests following his last start on Friday led to the IL stint. Matheny said on Tuesday that he believed the injury is similar to a left forearm flexor strain that landed Duffy on the IL in May, though he didn’t have the exact details of the newest ailment and how the two compared.

“All the exact medical terminology in comparison to what they'd seen before, I don't have all of that, except we're just following [the training staff’s] lead that this is something Danny was feeling, something that he wasn't able to pitch through,” Matheny said. “So that's the decision maker.”

In Singer’s case, Matheny said his IL placement wasn’t a “shutdown,” but rather the staff getting ahead of fatigue a pitcher was feeling in just his second year in the Majors.

Matheny noticed Singer struggling in his last start on Saturday and said Singer “had a little bit of the dead arm.” In that outing, Singer lasted just two-plus innings and gave up seven earned runs. Matheny said the club would use similar methods to rest any young pitchers that might need some time off.

“This isn't necessarily a shutdown [for Singer] as much as, let's just make sure that he's feeling how he should be feeling and watch closely, use the medical team, use sports science and figure out when it'd be best to get him back in there,” Matheny said.

With only Mike Minor and Brad Keller as established rotation pieces, Kansas City hasn’t yet figured out the rest of its rotation moving forward.

Matheny mentioned Carlos Hernández, who made his first start of the season on Sunday, and Kris Bubic, who have both been counted on to pitch multiple innings of relief and in spot starts, as young arms that will likely fill rotation spots.

Zuber, McBroom up from Omaha

To fill Duffy and Singer’s spots on the active roster, the Royals recalled Tyler Zuber and Ryan McBroom from Triple-A Omaha.

Both have spent time with the big league club this season. McBroom appeared in five games in April, while Zuber last came out of Kansas City’s bullpen on June 4.

Though neither had much success with the Royals this year -- McBroom was 1-for-6 with five strikeouts and Zuber had a 6.35 ERA -- better performances with the Storm Chasers gave Kansas City confidence that bringing those two back was the right move. McBroom batted .271 with 18 home runs and Zuber posted a 2.55 ERA in 16 appearances for Omaha.

While with Omaha, Zuber said he’d fixed issues with his posture that occurred during his delivery, when he’d “normally come up and my head would fly out.” That fix has allowed him to better get the baseball where he wants to throw it, which Zuber said was his biggest issue.

According to Matheny, McBroom provided the Royals with a solid bat off the bench against the Brewers.

“Coming into a National League park and having the ability to lengthen our bench and strengthen our bench a little bit, knowing that we're going to need some guys to come off and put together good at-bats for us, and Ryan McBroom's having a great season,” Matheny said. “He's doing everything that we need. Especially when you're talking about two left-handed starters [Brett Anderson and Eric Lauer] and some good left-handed arms coming out of [Milwaukee's] 'pen, it gives us more options.”