Ventura, Royals pleased with clean MRI results
Right-hander dealing with valgus extension overload, will miss next start
KANSAS CITY -- So there must have a big sigh of relief emanating from Kauffman Stadium when it was learned prize pitcher Yordano Ventura was OK, right, Ned Yost?
"Not really," the Royals manager said. "I had a really good idea. We've got good doctors and when they tested him, I had a pretty good idea what the MRI was going to show and that's exactly what happened."
The MRI of Ventura's pitching elbow came back clean on Tuesday and the right-hander will be held out of one start as a precautionary measure.
"I feel good that I'm only going to miss one start. It could've been worse," Ventura said through his translator, fellow pitcher Bruce Chen. "I'm very thankful to God that everything is working out."
There was great concern when Ventura was taken out of Monday night's start against the Astros in the third inning after yielding five runs in the first two innings. He felt what Yost described as a "bang" in his elbow and shortly after his removal, head trainer Nick Kenney's report reduced fears.
The medical description of the ailment is valgus extension overload (VEO), sometimes called "pitcher's elbow."
"It happens to everybody -- it happens to outfielders, it happens to infielders, it happens to pitchers," Yost said. "It's just kind of a freak extension where they bang their elbow together. ... When Nick told me that the pain was on the other side of the elbow, that he only felt it when on extension from his fastball -- he didn't feel it on his breaking ball or his changeup -- I knew exactly what it was."
Ventura's pain was on the outside of his elbow, not the inside, which usually indicates trouble with the ulna collateral ligament. A torn UCL often results in Tommy John surgery.
"You still have a little bit of concern until the MRI comes back. But the UCL was in perfect shape and everything came back fine," Yost said.
That was welcome news in the Royals' clubhouse.
"It's perfect because nowadays, everything is surgery," said Ventura's friend, pitcher Kelvin Herrera. "Tommy John surgery takes you away for a year and nobody wants that. So it was good to hear this."
Ventura was scratched from his scheduled start on Saturday at Toronto. Yost said he was sifting through options for a substitute starter. It won't be Chen, still recuperating from a back ailment.
"Ventura is not going to throw for three days, then throw two side sessions and be ready to pitch on the start after," Yost said.
A smiling Ventura met with reporters on Tuesday afternoon.
"Right now, I don't feel any pain and I'm very grateful to God and the trainers for working with me so I can continue to get better."
The five runs scored by the Astros in the first two innings of their 9-2 victory had nothing to do with Ventura's VEO visit in the third inning when his velocity dropped abruptly.
"That was in the third inning after he'd already racked up 60 pitches in the first two," Yost said. "He had a bad night; it didn't have anything to do with the valgus extension. At the end it did when his velocity started dropping. But it happens to everybody."
No real mystery as to why Ventura will skip a turn.
"It's a little bit of common sense," Yost said.