Holland reinstated; Zuber OK after scare
A day after he was put on the injured list with no reason given, reliever Greg Holland was reinstated to the Royals' active roster ahead of Saturday afternoon’s game against the Tigers at Comerica Park, the club announced.
Having Holland gives the Royals one of their highest-leverage arms back in the bullpen. Of the six Kansas City relievers with saves already this season, Holland leads with two, and despite manager Mike Matheny not having a traditional “closer,” Holland has seen the most time in the eighth inning or later of close games.
In a corresponding move, the Royals designated right-hander Brad Brach for assignment after the reliever had been added to the roster Friday to replace Holland. Brach signed a Minor League deal with the Royals in February and was fighting for a roster spot all spring. He didn’t make the Opening Day roster, but he stayed in the organization and has been on the taxi squad for both road trips this month.
The Royals were able to add Brach to their 40-man roster Friday without making a corresponding move because Holland did not have an injury or timeframe attached to his injured-list stint. But when Holland returned, Kansas City was forced to make the 40-man move that saw Brach designated for assignment. Because of the ongoing pandemic last season and this one, MLB allowed teams the leeway to place players on the IL for reasons beyond baseball-related injuries and activate them in fewer than the standard 10 days required under normal circumstances.
However, teams cannot announce the details of a player’s medical circumstances related to those moves unless the player has given permission.
Last week, for example, reliever Josh Staumont was placed on the injured list and returned a day later. He later told Kansas City media that it was because of side effects due to his first COVID-19 vaccine.
The Royals 40-man roster remains full.
No move for Zuber
After getting hit in his throwing arm with a 105.3 mph liner from Wilson Ramos on Friday, reliever Tyler Zuber appears to feel good enough to not warrant a roster move. He might not be available to pitch on Saturday, Matheny said, but the club feels it has enough rested arms to cover the innings it might need out of Zuber for a day.
“I do feel that we’re covered,” Matheny said. “We’ve got a couple of guys who are really kind of deconditioned that need to pitch and we haven’t used much, so guys that can give us some length. So I feel like we’re pretty good. [Zuber] was pretty confident after the game [Friday] that he was going to be ready. That might be aggressive, but we’ll see how he feels and looks once he gets in here. You never want to say you’ve got plenty because then you’ll be tested, but we’ve got some guys that can cover us right now.”
Zuber replaced starter Mike Minor in the bottom of the sixth inning, and he was hit on a ball that ricocheted off him to first baseman Carlos Santana for the final out of the inning. X-rays after his outing came back negative, but the Royals will be as cautious as he recovers.
Matheny said the current taxi squad for the Royals’ three-city road trip that spans the next week is infielder/outfielder Ryan McBroom, infielder/outfielder Erick Mejia and catcher Freddy Fermin. That group also included Brach before the roster moves on Friday and Saturday.