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Nate Karns might need season-ending surgery

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Two Royals pitchers are facing a premature end to the 2017 season, according to comments from club manager Ned Yost and vice president of communication Mike Swanson. Left-hander Matt Strahm underwent season-ending knee surgery on Friday after sustaining a torn patellar tendon in his left knee last week, while right-hander Nate Karns could potentially undergo thoracic outlet surgery after feeling prolonged discomfort in his right forearm. Both pitchers had already been placed on the 60-day disabled list prior to the announcement.

Karns, 29, was off to a promising start in his first season with the Royals. He went 2-2 in his first eight starts and turned in a 4.17 ERA, 2.6 BB/9 and 10.1 SO/9 over 45 1/3 innings. He’s still looking to bounce back from a tough run in Seattle last year, during which he sustained a serious lower back injury and produced an inflated 5.15 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 9.6 SO/9 through 94 1/3 innings.

The right-hander is expected to consult with thoracic outlet syndrome specialist Dr. Robert Thompson in the next few days, after which a decision will be made by the team. Should Karns’ forearm tightness require season-ending surgery, Yost said the righty should be ready to pitch again by spring training. With the second half approaching and neither Karns nor Strahm ready to resume their roles anytime soon, however, it seems more than likely that the club will start exploring external options to beef up their pitching staff as they chase down the division title.

Ronald Acuña Jr. reaches a rare home run milestone

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Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. hit his 40th home run in today’s 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. In so doing he become only the third player to hit 40 homers at age 21 or younger, joining Hall of Famers Mel Ott and Eddie Matthews, who hit 42 and 47, respectively, before turning 22. Ott was only 20 in fact.

Home run marks are a dime a dozen this year, of course, so maybe you want to discount Acuña’s accomplishment. Even if you do, though, you can’t discount his wheels. He didn’t have a stolen base this afternoon but he does have 37 on the year and has over a week to swipe three more. If he does he’ll become a member of the exclusive 40/40 club. It’s only current members: Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano.

The Braves win clinches at least a tie for the NL East title. They’ll clinch the division outright if either they win or the Nationals lose tomorrow.