The Royals signed right-hander Kyle Zimmer to a one-year major league contract, the team announced Friday. It’s a split deal, according to MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan, who says Zimmer is due the minimum $555,000 if he sticks in the majors and $124,000 if the club chooses to stash him in the minors again.
It’s been a slow and arduous road to the Show for the 27-year-old righty, who has yet to reach the majors after six years in the Royals’ farm system. In 2016, he underwent surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome in his pitching arm, then worked his way up to Triple-A Omaha for the first time in 2017. He didn’t pitch a single inning at any level in 2018, however, opting instead to undergo an intensive training program with Driveline Baseball in the hopes that he could avoid additional shoulder and arm injuries going forward. It’s clear the Royals saw enough progress from Zimmer that they feel he’ll be capable of handling a major-league role come spring, though he also has an option remaining on his contract should things start to go south again.
In a corresponding move, corner infielder Cheslor Cuthbert has been designated for assignment. The 26-year-old rounded out a four-year campaign with the Royals in 2018, slashing a career-worst .194/.282/.301 with three home runs and seven RBI across 117 PA.
Rays outfielder Austin Meadows has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a right thumb sprain, per a team announcement Sunday. No concrete timetable has been given for his return to the lineup just yet, but he’s scheduled to meet with a hand specialist on Sunday as the Rays try to determine the extent of his injury.
Meadows, 23, suffered the sprain in the seventh inning of Saturday’s 6-5 loss to the Red Sox. He lined a two-run triple into the right-center field gap — one of a franchise-record four triples that the Rays recorded in the game — but slid awkwardly into third base and jammed his right thumb in the process. He didn’t appear to be in obvious pain following the hit, however, nor was he removed from the game at the time.
Prior to the setback, Meadows carried a hefty .351/.422/.676 batting line with six homers, 19 RBI, and a 1.097 OPS through his first 83 plate appearances of 2019. He was replaced by Guillermo Heredia in right field for Sunday’s series finale and will likely lose a few starts to Avisaíl García as well.
In a series of corresponding moves, right-handed reliever Jake Faria was optioned to Triple-A Durham, infielder/outfielder Andrew Velazquez and righty reliever Emilio Pagán were recalled from Triple-A, and reliever Hunter Wood was placed on the paternity list. Second baseman Joey Wendle was also reinstated from the 10-day injured list after rehabbing a left hamstring strain and is scheduled take over the keystone during the Rays’ matinee against the Red Sox on Sunday.