Royals prospect Kyle Zimmer shut down for two months

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As if the Yordano Ventura news wasn’t enough to ruin every Royals fan’s day, now top prospect and 2012 fifth overall pick Kyle Zimmer has been shut down for 6-8 weeks with a strained lat muscle.

Zimmer hasn’t seen any game action this season and Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that when he finally started to throw against live hitters in extended spring training last week “Zimmer felt tightness” and “his velocity dipped to 89 mph.”

Zimmer finished last season on a high note by posting a 1.93 ERA in four starts at Double-A, ranking as a consensus top 50 prospect and potentially clearing the way for a first-half debut for the Royals, but now it seems unlikely that he’ll reach the majors at all this season and getting cleared for minor-league games is no sure thing either.

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.

Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”

Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.