The Royals are expected to re-sign lefty Richard Lovelady on a minor league deal, according to Alec Lewis of The Athletic. The 26-year-old was non-tendered by the club yesterday. Lovelady seemed to be in the midst of a nice breakout campaign in 2021, but it ended on a sour note as he required Tommy John surgery in September.
The Royals selected the southpaw in the tenth round of the 2016 draft and he dominated in the minors, quickly rising the ranks to make his MLB debut in 2019. Though he struggled in limited action over his first couple of seasons in the show, 2021 saw him throw 20 2/3 innings out of the Royals’ bullpen with an ERA of 3.48, 27.4% strikeout rate, 7.1% walk rate and 56.6% ground ball rate.
Unfortunately, his injury and subsequent surgery put a stop to his 2021 campaign and likely wiped out his 2022 season as well, which is what led to yesterday’s non-tender. Although he’s lost his spot on the 40-man roster, it seems he will stay within the organization for the year as he rehabs and attempts to make his way back to health. Recovery times for Tommy John surgery usually fall in the range of 12-18 months, meaning it’s within the realm of possibility for Lovelady to contribute down the stretch in 2022, but the start of 2023 is likely more plausible for his return to action.