The fabulous debut season of left-handed reliever Matt Strahm has been delayed by a slight case of biceps tendinitis, Royals manager Ned Yost told The Star on Tuesday.
The Royals remain hopeful that Strahm could be available to pitch before the end of a three-game series against the Twins on Wednesday in Minneapolis.
Strahm, who has compiled a 2-0 record with a 0.57 ERA in 15 2/3 innings, has not pitched since last Wednesday, when he logged one scoreless inning in a 5-4 loss to the New York Yankees.
He warmed up twice on Saturday during a victory over the Detroit Tigers. But he was not available on Sunday, when Joakim Soria allowed a two-run homer in the eighth and took the loss in a 6-5 defeat.
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The case of biceps tendinitis helps explain why Strahm was not available on Sunday — or in any game since. Yost said the issue surfaced near the end of the weekend.
“It’s very slight,” Yost said. “It’s just the beginning stages of biceps tendinitis. If we catch it early, he’ll be able to pitch through it.”
Strahm joined the Royals in late July after spending most of the season in the starting rotation at Class AA Northwest Arkansas. With Wade Davis and Luke Hochevar on the disabled list, Strahm turned into a revelation, helping the bullpen set a franchise record with 41 1/3 scoreless innings during a stretch in August.
The Royals have opted to monitor his usage closely, in part because he has already set a career high with 118 innings this year. (Strahm threw 94 innings last year.) Strahm also underwent Tommy John surgery late in 2013 and missed most of the 2014 season.
The Royals have a day off on Thursday and Strahm is set to leave the club for one day on Friday after the death of his grandfather in North Dakota. He could rejoin the team on Saturday for the second game of a three-game series in Chicago.
“We’re trying to make sure that we don’t overdo it with him and get it into full-blown tendinitis,” Yost said. “That’s what we had to shut Wang down with.”