Veteran starter Bruce Chen is off the disabled list after missing two months with a back injury and in a corresponding move the Royals have demoted reliever Tim Collins to Triple-A.
Chen had an ugly 7.45 ERA before being shut down, but he was solid in a swingman role last season and the Royals weren’t going to give up on the 37-year-old southpaw after re-signing him for $4.25 million this offeason. For now he’ll be a long reliever.
Collins has been one of the league’s better left-handed setup men since debuting, posting a 3.55 ERA with 205 strikeouts in 190 innings from 2011-2013, but the diminutive southpaw’s control has always been shaky and this year he had an ugly 10/10 K/BB ratio in 17 innings to go with a 4.15 ERA. He’ll be back in Kansas City, most likely pretty soon.
Michael Fulmer was the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year Award winner. Last year he had his worst season as a major leaguer, finishing 3-12 with a 4.69 ERA and a 110/46 K/BB ratio in 132 1/3 innings. This spring he has been utterly lost in eight innings of work, getting hit hard and exhibiting diminished velocity. A few days ago, the Tigers shut him down and said they’d work on his mechanics.
Now comes the news that no one wanted to hear: the Tigers have announced that Dr. James Andrews has recommended that he get Tommy John surgery.
Fulmer is said to be seeking a third opinion — before Andrews he had an MRI and team doctors feared the worst — but let’s be real about what’s gonna happen here: Fulmer is going to miss the entire 2019 season and, in all likelihood, a good chunk of 2020 as well.
Tough break for Fulmer, one of the few good pitchers the Tigers had developed in some time.