An MRI on the left elbow of Royals reliever Tim Collins has revealed ligament damage in his elbow, reports Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter). The team is seeking a second opinion, but the news obviously lends the possibility that Collins will ultimately require Tommy John surgery to repair the issue.
The 25-year-old Collins has been an integral part of the Kansas City bullpen over the past four seasons, working to a 3.54 ERA with 9.4 K/9, 5.2 BB/9 and a 40 percent ground-ball rate in 211 innings (228 appearances). Though he struggles with his control, Collins has held opponents to a .226 average in the Major Leagues and has been reasonably effective against both right- and left-handed hitters.
Should Collins require surgery, the Royals would be down a left-handed option in their bullpen, and the odds of a non-roster invitee such as Franklin Morales or Joe Paterson making the team would increase. Kansas City also has 2014 first-rounder Brandon Finnegan as an option. Finnegan proved to be a weapon for the Royals down the stretch and in the postseason as the team marched all the way to Game 7 of the World Series. However, the Royals’ preference for Finnegan in the long run is likely for him to develop as a starter.