The Royals have placed right-hander Zack Greinke on the 15-day injured list, per Anne Rogers of MLB.com, with right posterior elbow soreness. The move is retroactive to yesterday. Left-hander Taylor Hearn was recalled in a corresponding move.
Greinke, 39, has an extensive track record of major league success but is struggling through one of the worst seasons of his career. He’s allowing 5.53 earned runs per nine innings, striking out just 15.8% of batters faced. He hasn’t had huge strikeout totals for a few years now, relying more on limiting hard contact, but that’s proved to be more challenging this year. His 8.6% barrel rate is the worst of his career, as is the 89.5 mph average exit velocity he’s allowed. 17.2% of fly balls he’s allowed are leaving the yard, one of the worst such rates of his career.
It’s unclear how long Greinke is expected to be out, but the club will have to operate without him for at least the next two weeks. That will leave them with a rotation of Brady Singer, Cole Ragans, Jordan Lyles and Alec Marsh. They are currently in a stretch of 12 straight games, with their next off-day not until Sunday. That means they will need a fifth starter, or a bullpen game, at some point between now and then. Max Castillo and Jonathan Bowlan are each on the 40-man roster though they both have ERAs above 5.00 in Triple-A this year.
Greinke is currently sitting on 2,995 career strikeouts. Just five more will allow him to hit the 3,000 milestone, something that only 19 other pitchers have ever done in history. Royals fans, and baseball fans in general, will hope that he returns to health in time to hit that incredible marker.
Hearn will be making his Royals debut whenever he gets into a game, as he was just acquired from Atlanta prior to the deadline. He has a 3.37 ERA in the minors this year, tossing 42 2/3 innings between the two organizations. He’s struck out 30.1% of opponents in that time but walked 12.8%.