Before this afternoon’s game with the Twins, the Royals announced they’ve recalled left-hander Kris Bubic and righty Jake Newberry from the alternate training site. Reliever Kyle Zimmer has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a left trapezius muscle strain (via Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star), while first baseman Ryan McBroom was optioned to the alternate training site.
At one point, Bubic looked like a good bet to open the year in the Royals’ rotation. A former supplemental round pick, he made his MLB debut last year and held his own across ten starts. Bubic worked to a 4.32 ERA/4.69 SIERA with serviceable strikeout (22.1%), walk (9.9%) and groundball (46.6%) rates. Baseball America named him the Royals’ #5 prospect over the winter on the heels of that showing.
The Royals signed Mike Minor to a two-year deal over the offseason, though. That addition and a rough Spring Training were enough to bump Bubic from the season-opening rotation. While he’s now in line to see his first major league action of the year, it seems he’ll be on hand as a bullpen option for the time being. Kansas City has gotten strong performances from each of Danny Duffy, Brady Singer and Jakob Junis so far. Minor and Brad Keller haven’t been good but will obviously get a longer leash to figure things out based on their respective track records. That doesn’t leave any room for Bubic if the Royals are planning to stick with a five-man starting staff.
While Bubic and Newberry join the relief corps, Zimmer will be knocked out of action for the time being. The former top prospect has been fine in the early going, allowing five runs in 13.1 innings with 12 strikeouts and five walks. The team didn’t provide a timetable for his potential return. McBroom was optioned out after taking just seven plate appearances over five games.