Injuries & Moves: Salvy (knee) back in lineup; Wacha set for rehab start

June 16th, 2024

LATEST NEWS

June 16: C (right knee inflammation back in lineup
Perez was back in the lineup as the Royals' designated hitter for their series finale Sunday against the Dodgers. He told the coaching staff that he felt good enough to hit, and the hope is that Perez is back catching in a few days -- maybe after Monday's off-day -- but the team will see how he progresses after his at-bats Sunday.

“I think being able to DH him, that’s what made it an easy decision," manager Matt Quatraro said. "He’s not somebody that relies on legging out doubles and stealing bases, so he said he feels good to hit, and we’re happy to have him in the lineup.”

With a runner on second base in the bottom of the fourth inning on Friday night, Cole Ragans threw a fastball to Dodgers catcher Will Smith that might have gone to the backstop if not for Perez’s quickness getting up and snagging the ball to prevent the runner from advancing. Unfortunately, Perez also felt a tweak in his right knee during that sequence. The Royals' backstop tried to play through it for a few more innings, but the soreness wasn’t subsiding, and the inflammation was getting worse, leading to Perez’s exit in the eighth inning. An MRI taken Saturday showed nothing structurally wrong with Perez's knee, Quatraro said.

June 15: C recalled from Triple-A Omaha; LHP optioned to Triple-A Omaha
To protect them behind the plate while Perez recovers from his right knee inflammation, the Royals had Nola join them in Los Angeles and serve as their backup catcher. Freddy Fermin will take over the majority of appearances behind the plate until Perez is ready to go, which the Royals hope will only take a couple of days.

The Royals signed Nola, 34, to a Major League contract in Spring Training for this exact reason -- experienced catching depth. Nola is hitting just .100 in 20 games with Omaha this year. He missed about five weeks with an oblique strain at the beginning of the season but is completely healthy now, he said.

10-DAY/15-DAY INJURED LIST

RHP (left foot fracture)
Expected return: End of June
Wacha was hit in the middle of his foot by a comebacker in the first inning of his May 31 start against the Padres, but he stayed in the game and pitched 5 1/3 innings, saying he didn't feel any pain while on the mound because of adrenaline. But it settled in postgame, and imaging taken the next day showed a non-displaced fracture, leading to his placement on the IL retroactive to June 1.

Wacha has been progressing well and is scheduled to make a rehab outing in the Arizona Complex League on June 17 at the Royals' complex in Surprise, Ariz. If all goes well, manager Matt Quatraro said he would expect Wacha to be back in Kansas City's rotation the next turn through, when the Royals play the Rangers in Texas the weekend of June 21. (Last updated: June 16)

OF (bone bruise in left big toe)
Expected return: TBD
After fouling two balls off his left foot during a 12-pitch at-bat on June 10 against the Yankees, Renfroe was placed on the 10-day IL on June 11, still in pain. The 32-year-old outfielder had been a big part of the Royals' offense recently, slashing .302/.371/.556 with seven doubles, three homers and 13 RBIs since May 12. On June 12, the Royals received good news about Renfroe’s injury and recovery -- his toe isn’t fractured. Instead, he’s dealing with a bone bruise with a stress reaction. That significantly alters his timeline for a return, as he won’t need surgery to repair a fracture. Depending on his pain threshold and length of a potential rehab assignment, Renfroe could return in a two-to-three-week timeframe. He was already playing light catch on June 12 and began taking some swings while in Los Angeles with the team. (Last updated: June 15)

2B (low back ligament sprain)
Expected return: July
Massey, who was removed from the game on May 24 after hitting a three-run homer, was placed on the 10-day injured list on May 26 with a lower back ligament sprain. He dealt with a similar issue at the end of Spring Training, which delayed his season debut until April 19.

Massey saw a back specialist and received an injection on May 31. He has had a slower recovery but participated in light baseball activity for the first time on June 10. He has ramped up from there, playing catch, running and increasing the amount and intensity of his swings. (Last updated: June 12)

3B , Royals No. 2 prospect (right oblique strain)
Expected return: July
Wallace was placed on the 7-day Minor League injured list on May 22 after exiting his Double-A game in the first inning. He was replaced by a pinch-runner after hitting a single in his first plate appearance on May 21 as he dealt with what the Royals described as right side tightness.

Further testing revealed an oblique strain for the Royals' second-round pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. The recovery timeframe was six weeks from the time of injury, which puts his return sometime in July. Wallace is slashing .282/.350/.427 with three homers and 16 RBIs through 34 games with Double-A Northwest Arkansas this season. (Last updated: June 4)

60-DAY INJURED LIST

LHP (left elbow surgery)
Expected return: July
Bubic opted for full ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction surgery in April 2023 and has had a smooth recovery so far, targeting the middle of 2024 for a potential return. He began his rehab assignment on May 7, first pitching in the Arizona Complex League, then Double-A Northwest Arkansas before being transferred to Triple-A Omaha on May 27.

On June 14, Bubic allowed two runs in four innings for the Storm Chasers, walking three and striking out three. He needed 84 pitches (52 strikes), which means he's fully built up now as a starter.

Bubic's rehab was extended another 10 days on June 15, a rule that allows pitchers recovering from Tommy John to spend more than the maximum of 30 days on a rehab assignment if approved by the player and union. They can extend the rehab assignment by 10 days up to three times but must revisit and approve it after each 10-day window. Bubic's rehab assignment has been extended twice now, and it'll be assessed again on June 26. He could pitch out of Kansas City's bullpen or rotation at some point this year, but the team doesn't want to rush him back as he gets more reps. (Last updated: June 15)

LHP (left arm/biceps nerve injury)
Expected return: Second half of the season
Taylor felt soreness when he was warming up for his March 17 Cactus League outing and was shut down afterward with left biceps soreness. The lefty reliever was diagnosed with a musculocutaneous nerve injury, and his timeline to return is unknown, as he'll be shut down from throwing until he regains strength.

Taylor was transferred to the 60-day IL on April 7 to make room for Colin Selby on the 40-man roster. (Last updated: April 7)

RHP (right shoulder surgery)
Expected return
: 2025
The Royals traded for Wright in November in exchange for Jackson Kowar knowing Wright was coming off shoulder surgery after the 2023 season. They made the move thinking ahead a year, foreseeing how Wright, who will be 29 in '25, could help after he led the Majors with 21 wins and posted a 3.19 ERA in '22.

Pitchers who have this procedure typically take a year to return, and Wright is rehabbing in Kansas City with the goal of having a normal, non-rehabbing offseason later this year. Wright was placed on the 60-day IL on Feb. 17 to make room for reliever John Schreiber on the 40-man roster. (Last updated: March 28)

INACTIVE LIST

RHP (personal matter)
Expected return: TBD
The Royals placed Lyles on the inactive list on April 20. The team is not disclosing the reason for Lyles’ absence other than describing it as a “personal matter.” There’s no timeline for his return.

Because of the type of inactive list Lyles was placed on, it opened a 40-man roster spot for the Royals, which they utilized on April 22 by promoting righty reliever Tyler Duffey. (Last updated: April 22)