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.