Vargas slated to throw simulated innings
HOUSTON -- Royals pitcher Jason Vargas will throw about two simulated innings on Thursday, his first live throwing action since he landed on the disabled list in early June with a recurrence of a muscle strain in his left forearm.
"I just want to go out there and see how it feels in situations you face against hitters, and see how much I can give it and how it responds," Vargas said.
Manager Ned Yost said Vargas will throw between 30-40 pitches, with a hard cap at 40. The hope is to gradually extend the lefty by approximately 20 more pitches over a few subsequent simulated sessions and potentially avoid a Minor League rehab start.
"He's definitely feeling good right now or we wouldn't be throwing him tomorrow," Yost said. "He's ready to take that step. It's important to get him built back up again to 80 or 85 pitches to be ready to pitch five or six innings at a time."
Vargas said he just wants to see if most of the pain has subsided and how his arm reacts after so much down time.
"When it was bothering me, it was when I was turning and throwing the ball, I'd feel a discomfort I hadn't felt before," he said. "It's been awhile since I've [thrown] hard off a mound, so you just don't know."
Vargas was 5-2 with a 4.10 ERA in 41 2/3 innings during eight starts before the elbow troubles landed him on the DL on June 13.
• Yordano Ventura (ulnar nerve irritation) was slated to make his second rehab start with Triple-A Omaha on Wednesday night.