It’s not happening under the best of circumstances, but the Royals are calling up one of their top pitching prospects to help their postseason efforts.
CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler reports that Royals will call up prospect right-hander Yordano Ventura to start tomorrow night against the Indians. He’ll pitch in place of Danny Duffy, who was diagnosed with a “very mild flexor strain” following an MRI.
Ventura, 22, posted a 3.14 ERA and 155/53 K/BB ratio over 134 2/3 innings this season between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha. While he’s listed at just 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, he’s capable of hitting 100 mph with his fastball.
Duffy, who is in his first year back from Tommy John surgery, hasn’t pitched since September 7. As Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star notes, the good news is that there’s no structural damage in his elbow. Still, it’s possible he’ll be shut down for the rest of the year at this point.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.