The Royals announced that left-hander Ángel Zerpa has been placed on the 60-day injured list due to left shoulder tendinopathy. No corresponding move was announced so the club’s 40-man roster count is down to 39.
Zerpa, 23, was added to the club’s roster in November of 2020 to protect him from being selected in the Rule 5 draft. Since then, he has seen some brief major league action, appearing in four games over the past two seasons, posting a 1.13 ERA in 16 innings.
The southpaw spent most of his time in the minors last year, making 19 starts between Double-A and Triple-A. He tossed 71 2/3 innings between the two levels with a 4.02 ERA. He struck out 22.5% of batters faced while walking 8.2% of them and getting grounders on roughly half the balls in play he allowed. Based on his strong work in the minors of late, Baseball America ranked him the club’s #9 prospect going into this season.
The club hasn’t provided a timeline on how long they expect Zerpa to be out, but he won’t be an option for the first couple of months. The 60-day clock doesn’t start until Opening Day, meaning he won’t be eligible to be reinstated until late May. The lefty wasn’t likely to crack the club’s Opening Day rotation even if he were healthy, as it’s likely to feature Brady Singer, Zack Greinke, Jordan Lyles, Ryan Yarbrough and Brad Keller. But with Zerpa out of action for at least a couple of months, the club will have one less depth option on hand.
Now that the Royals have an open roster spot, it could potentially create an opportunity for someone not currently on the 40-man. Perhaps the club makes a waiver claim in the coming weeks or uses that spot on a player already in camp. Some of their notable non-roster invitees include Franmil Reyes, Matt Duffy, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Nick Wittgren.