Right-hander Yordano Ventura, the Royals top pitching prospect, is heading to Class AAA Omaha after club officials concluded he has nothing more to prove at Class AA Northwest Arkansas.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
The promotion came Monday on Venturas 22nd birthday and two days after he lowered his ERA to 2.34 by pitching five scoreless innings in a no-decision against San Antonio.
Hes just had an outstanding first half of the season, assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said. Hes really controlling the strike zone exceptionally well.
Ventura was 3-2 for the Naturals but racked up 74 strikeouts in 572/3innings while compiling a 1.02 walks (20) and hits (39) per inning (WHIP).
Hes had a really high strike percentage, Picollo said, and he kept repeating it outing after outing. Thats exactly what we needed to see before we were comfortable in moving him to Triple-A.
The time is right for it. Were not quite at the halfway mark, but were close to it. We want him to face some more mature hitters at this point.
Perez expected back
Catcher Salvy Perez is scheduled to return Tuesday to active duty after missing nine days on bereavement leave following the unexpected death of his maternal grandmother in Venezuela.
Players are only permitted a maximum of seven days for bereavement leave. Thereafter, they are placed on the suspended list, and their pay is docked for lost time.
Club officials say the delay in Perezs return stemmed primarily from his efforts to arrange for his mother to live permanently in the United States.
Alex Gordon is the only Royals player listed among the leaders in initial American League balloting update for the All-Star Game.
Gordon is eighth among outfielders with 522,483 votes, which puts him nearly 240,000 behind Detroits Torii Hunter for the final starting spot in the AL outfield for the July 16 game at Citi Field in New York.
Major League Baseballs weekly releases only cite balloting totals for the top five vote-getters at each position except outfield, where it releases the top 15.
The Royals have not had a player voted to a starting position since outfielder Jermaine Dye in 2000.
While Ventura is getting a promotion, right-hander Kyle Zimmer, the clubs No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft, continues to struggle at Hi-A Wilmington.
Zimmer is 0-5 with a 5.54 ERA after yielding five runs in six innings Sunday in a 5-3 loss to Frederick.
Picollo admits the Royals find Zimmers ongoing struggles to be a bit baffling at times because he continues to exhibit plus stuff and plus command.
The grades are phenomenal on his pitches, Picollo said. Theyre all well above average. Anywhere from 60 to 80 (on an 20-80 scale) on his grades every night.
As we start breaking down start by start, his pitch selection needs to get better. Hes just not going to be able to out-stuff hitters. Hes going through the learning process a little sooner than we expected.
From a delivery standpoint and a stuff standpoint, its everything and then some. Right now, we have to be a little more patient than we anticipated. But thats OK. I think in the end it will speed up (his development).
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