The Royals could face a roster decision as early as Friday as reliever Matt Strahm becomes eligible to return from Class AAA Omaha.
Strahm was demoted to the minor leagues on April 11. Players must spend 10 days in the minors before they can return to the big leagues, barring an injury on the 25-man roster. Strahm, a left-hander, struggled with his command during his first three appearances with the Royals, allowing seven earned runs in 1 1/3 innings. He has stabilized while back in Omaha. Entering Thursday, he had thrown five scoreless innings across four appearances, recording seven strikeouts against zero walks.
“He’s been better,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “The reports are good.”
Strahm’s return to the Kansas City bullpen appears imminent. It’s unclear whether that will be on Friday or possibly later in the road trip.
The Royals’ bullpen is currently at seven relievers after right-hander Jake Junis was sent down in favor of utility man Whit Merrifield earlier this week. To make room for Strahm, the Royals must part ways with a reliever or shed a position player.
“My preference right now is to have eight (relievers),” Yost said. “But we can get by with seven.”
Soler ‘close’ on rehab assignment
Yost said outfielder Jorge Soler is “close” to starting a rehab assignment in the minor leagues. Soler, 25, is recovering from a strained oblique muscle sustained during the final week of spring training.
“We’ll see,” Yost said. “We’re evaluating daily. We’ll see how he’s swinging, how he feels. We’ll see.”