Bruce Chen has been scratched from today’s scheduled start and may not be able to pitch this weekend either because of a swollen disk in his back that has the Royals left-hander in what he described as “constant pain.”
Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that the swollen disk is pressing against nerves and causing “pain shooting down his leg.” He received an epidural injection to ease the swelling.
McCullough writes that “Chen has been managing this condition for weeks,” which helps explain his 7.45 ERA in four starts after the Royals re-signed the 37-year-old to a two-year contract this offseason.
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Free agent reliever Sean Burnett signed a minor-league pact with the Marlins on Saturday. Per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, the left-hander is slated to begin the season in extended spring training and will work toward a role in the majors.
Burnett, 35, has not appeared in full-time role in MLB since 2012. He last pitched for a big league team in 2016, surfacing for 5 2/3 innings with the Nationals before returning to the minors. Despite signing a minor-league deal with the Phillies last spring, he failed to make the Opening Day roster and was released prior to the start of the season.
Complicating Burnett’s return is a slew of chronic elbow issues. The left-hander has dealt with everything from bone spurs to a torn UCL over the last six years, and will need to take things slowly in the minors before the Marlins consider adding him to the bullpen this season.