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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.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.