The Royals announced a series of roster moves today, with left-handed pitcher Amir Garrett and outfielder Kyle Isbel both going on the injured list. No designation was given for their IL placement, which suggests they are going on the COVID-related IL. Right-hander Dylan Coleman has been recalled to take one of the spots on the active roster, with outfielder Brewer Hicklen’s contract being selected for the other.
After previously spending his entire career with the Reds, Garrett was sent to KC in a March trade and has thrown 13 2/3 innings for his new team with a 4.61 ERA. It’s been a strange campaign for the southpaw so far, as his 29.1% strikeout rate is fairly similar to last year’s mark, but his walk rate has shot up to 20%. That’s much higher than his 13.5% mark last year, which was already above league average. He’s been able to limit the damage due to not allowing a homer yet on the year and also having an unsustainable .148 BABIP. With Garrett out, Gabe Speier is now the only lefty in the team’s bullpen.
Isbel got his first taste of the big leagues last year, hitting .276/.337/.434 for a 109 wRC+ in 28 games. He’s taken a step back this season, with his line currently sitting at .276/.295/.345, 84 wRC+. He and Michael A. Taylor have gotten most of the center field starts this year, but both are now on the COVID-IL. Dairon Blanco was selected to the roster last week to replace Taylor, with Isbel now being replaced by Hicklen.
No indication was given as to whether Garrett or Isbel has tested positive for COVID. Players can be placed on the COVID-related IL for positive tests, experiencing symptoms or for contract tracing purposes. Under the league’s 2022 health-and-safety protocols, players who test positive are subject to a 10-day absence from the club. It’s possible to be reinstated in less time if the player has gone 24 or more hours without a fever, received a pair of negative PCR tests, and been given approval from a team physician and the MLB/MLBPA joint committee (a panel of one league-appointed and one union-appointed physician).
Hicklen, 26, was selected by the club in the seventh round of the 2017 draft. After some strong performances in the minors, he got himself onto the radar of prospect watchers, with Baseball America putting him on their list of the top 30 KC prospects in 2019 and the following two years as well. Last year, he reached Double-A for the first time, putting up a line of .243/.346/.434. That amounts to a wRC+ of 110, though his best asset is his speed, as evidenced by his 40 steals last year. This year, he got the bump to Triple-A and has hit .266/.350/.455 for a wRC+ of 117, though his already-high strikeout rate has jumped up to 38.8%. The speed is still there, though, as he’s already swiped 11 bags in 42 games. He’s in the Royals’ lineup tonight, batting ninth and playing center field, making his major league debut.