KANSAS CITY -- A day after right-hander Kelvin Herrera suffered his fourth blown save of the season in a 4-2 loss to the Twins, Royals manager Ned Yost said on Friday that he was making a change with the closer's role.
"We're going to bump Kelvin out of there for a while," Yost said. "He's just not pitching regularly enough to stay sharp. We'll go with [Scott Alexander], [Brandon Maurer], [Mike Minor]. Just depends what it takes to get there."
In his new setup role, Herrera gave up a double and a triple in the eighth inning of Friday night's 8-5 loss that dropped the Royals to 4 1/2 back of the Twins for the second American League Wild Card spot.
Prior to the loss, Yost reiterated that the Royals might not have made this move had not a dropped popup in the ninth on Thursday given the Twins an extra out that they capitalized on in a three-run rally.
"We don't have this conversation," Yost said. "Still, Kel is not sharp. He's not a guy used to having to throw 25-28 pitches to get through one inning. He felt fine but he's just up in the zone."
Twice in the last two weeks, Herrera has had to leave a game mid-batter because of tightness in the flexor muscle near his right wrist. But Yost said Herrera is healthy and was hitting 97-98 mph on the radar gun Thursday.
"Kel is pitching every five days now and it's just not enough," Yost said. "We need to get him back in the seventh or eighth inning and getting him pitching regularly. He's just not sharp."
But after another disappointing appearance on Friday, Yost didn't sound sure how he would incorporate Herrera into games in the future.
"I don't know," Yost said. "We've gotten really good production and performance out of Minor, [Peter Moylan], Alexander, Maurer. But you can't use those guys every single night. You just can't. [Ryan Buchter] stepped up tonight and did a great job. He's been throwing the ball well. Hopefully we're going to get Jack [Joakim Soria] back here in three or four days, which will help. Just keep working and you hope Kel gets it turned around."
Herrera has 26 saves this season with a 4.56 ERA.
Yost said he won't have a set closer as Herrera regains his command.
"Maurer, Minor and Alexander are all capable," Yost said. "We'll mix and match. But it's going to be tough because we don't get to the ninth without those five outs from Scotty [on Thursday]. But we'll just see how it goes."