ANAHEIM -- The return of reliever Josh Staumont has given the Royals one of their more high-leverage arms back in the bullpen.
Staumont, who had a 2.77 ERA in 22 2/3 innings and led the Royals with five saves before hitting the injured list with a left knee sprain, threw a shutout eighth inning in the Royals 2-1 loss to the Twins on Sunday in what he felt was an exciting return.
“Absolutely incredible,” Staumont said on Sunday. “I couldn’t be more happy that I’m back. Hopefully I’ll never be on the IL again.”
His return, as Royals manager Mike Matheny put it, has given the bullpen the ability to “share the wealth” among the other arms in the bullpen.
Matheny said having Staumont back allows him to take some weight off the shoulders of other arms, including Greg Holland (3.48 ERA in 20 2/3 innings), Scott Barlow (1.80 ERA in 30 innings) and Jake Brentz (1.95 ERA in 27 2/3 innings).
"It just shares the wealth and [I'm] able to take some of the load off the guys who we've been riding really hard,” Matheny said. “All of them have been responding well, but to be able to give those leverage innings to other guys and know that we're in good hands is always a great feeling."
Junis' Triple-A goal
With right-hander Jakob Junis optioned to Triple-A Omaha, the Royals will look for him to get more adjusted to a role out of the bullpen. Junis made 10 of his 15 appearances this season out of the bullpen and held a 5.19 ERA in 34 2/3 innings with Kansas City.
Matheny said the transition to move into a bullpen role can be difficult to adjust to for a pitcher like Junis, who has served primarily as a starter since making his MLB debut with the Royals in 2017.
The Royals skipper said Junis’ long-term role hasn’t been decided, but the organization is looking for him to find a more consistent rhythm while down in the Minors.
“I think it's just getting him into a good place, getting him longer stints which are more controllable in the Minor League setting is a better spot to get some of that worked out, to get him feeling confident about his pitches to where he can come back and help us in a number of roles,” Matheny said.
Royals prospect earns pitcher of the week honors
Lefty Marcelo Martinez was honored as the Double-A Central Pitcher of the Week by Minor League Baseball on Monday.
Martinez, a native of Reynosa, Mexico, went 1-0 in two starts. He threw six innings and allowed one run, struck out nine and walked none in a win against Tulsa on June 1. He followed that with a 1 1/3 inning outing with two strikeouts in a game against the Drillers that was suspended due to rain and will be resumed on June 20.