OAKLAND -- With a pivotal three-game series against the divison-leading Indians coming up after Thursday's off-day, the Royals set their rotation Tuesday with three veterans slotted.As expected, right-hander Ian Kennedy will pitch Friday, followed by left-hander Jason Vargas on Saturday. But the Royals will skip the fifth spot and use
OAKLAND -- With a pivotal three-game series against the divison-leading Indians coming up after Thursday's off-day, the Royals set their rotation Tuesday with three veterans slotted.
As expected, right-hander Ian Kennedy will pitch Friday, followed by left-hander Jason Vargas on Saturday. But the Royals will skip the fifth spot and use right-hander Jason Hammel Sunday.
Manager Ned Yost said right-hander Jakob Junis, who is currently filling the fifth rotation spot for the injured Trevor Cahill, will make his next start in the Rockies series, Aug. 22-24, "probably the last game against Colorado."
Junis has won both of his starts in August, including allowing six runs in two innings Monday night in Oakland. He's appeared in 11 games with the Royals this season, making eight starts and coming out of the bullpen three times, which he possibly could do again if the Royals need him over the weekend.
The Royals also have an off-day Monday, but with another three-game series against the Indians coming the following weekend (Aug. 25-27 in Cleveland), Yost acknowledged that he wants to use his veterans against Cleveland.
The Indians -- who hold a five-game lead in the American League Central entering Tuesday -- are listing Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Danny Salazar as the starters for the three games in Kansas City.
• Salvador Perez (right intercostal strain) didn't swing a bat Tuesday after taking his first swings Monday, but he threw from home to second with no pain and caught bullpen side sessions. He's expected to swing a bat again Wednesday.
• Cahill (right shoulder impingement) won't pick up a ball until the weekend at the earliest, but Yost is hopeful that it won't be long before he's able to get back to throwing.
"He's feeling much better now. His arm is getting a little bit stronger," Yost said. "We gave him an MRI over this last one, there was no structural change from the MRI that he had early in the season. It was just inflammation in the rotator cuff. Inject it, let it calm down, get some strength back and start the progression back."
• Yost said he's closely monitoring outfielder Paulo Orlando (fractured left tibia) as he continues his rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha. Yost mentioned Orlando as a likely addition to the team come September.
Alex Simon is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. He covered the Royals on Tuesday. Follow him on Twitter at @alexsimon99.