The Royals have named Nate Karns their fifth starter, Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star writes (Twitter links). That means veterans Travis Wood and Chris Young will pitch out of the bullpen. Karns joins a rotation that also includes Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, Jason Hammel and Jason Vargas. Karns, who arrived in a winter trade for Jarrod Dyson, posted a 5.15 ERA and 4.3 BB/9 with the Mariners last year, but with a reasonably promising 9.6 K/9 over 94 1/3 innings. The potential to compete for a rotation spot was a key reason Wood agreed to a two-year, $12MM deal with the Royals over the offseason, but it appears he’ll instead pitch in relief, a role in which he had success as a member of the Cubs in both 2015 and 2016. Here’s more on rotations throughout the game.
- Manager Mike Matheny confirms that Michael Wacha will serve as the Cardinals’ fifth starter, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. Wacha appeared to have the inside track on the job after the team lost top prospect Alex Reyes to an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. Joining Wacha in the rotation will be Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Mike Leake and Lance Lynn. The loss of Reyes and the injury situations of a number of pitchers (including Wacha, Tyler Lyons and Marco Gonzales) leave the Cardinals with somewhat depleted depth. Lynn, who is pitching without restrictions as he returns from his own Tommy John surgery, says he’s aiming to reliably make his starts and accumulate innings. “If you set yourself below that, why take the ball?” he says.
- The Padres face a different problem as they attempt to assemble their 2017 rotation, MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell writes. Veterans Jhoulys Chacin, Jered Weaver and Clayton Richard have nailed down rotation spots, leaving two open. Of the five remaining starters competing, though, three (Jarred Cosart, Christian Friedrich and Paul Clemens) are out of options, limiting the club’s flexibility. One or two of those pitchers could head to the bullpen (although sending two potential starters to the bullpen would create a different set of roster questions), and Friedrich, who’s dealing with arm soreness, could be placed on the DL. Still, it’s possible the Padres could end up with a starting pitcher or two on the waiver wire as the season opens. Luis Perdomo, meanwhile, led the Padres in innings pitched last year, but he’s eligible to be optioned, so he might head to Triple-A El Paso.