Right-hander Kyle Zimmer was back on a professional baseball field on Tuesday night, logging two scoreless innings for Class AAA Omaha in a 7-2 loss at Oklahoma City.
Zimmer, the Royals’ oft-injured pitching prospect, had not pitched since April 20, when he departed a start after procuring just three outs. He was placed on the disabled list four days later, the club stating that he had experienced shoulder soreness. At the time, Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo told The Star the club would evaluate Zimmer on a “day to day” basis.
Zimmer eventually began a throwing program and worked on returning to his team at Omaha. He was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday. He threw two clean innings in relief of starter Christian Binford, who allowed six runs in five innings. Zimmer finished with one strikeout.
The stint on the disabled list was the latest medical setback for Zimmer, who opened the season healthy after undergoing surgery last August to address thoracic outlet syndrome, a neurogenic condition caused by the compression of nerves near the neck and shoulder.
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Zimmer threw just 5 2/3 minor-league innings last season after tossing 64 innings in 2015. The Royals planned to be flexible and open-minded with his work load in 2017.
A first-round pick in 2012, Zimmer previously underwent an “elbow cleanout” following his first summer in the Royals organization and a shoulder procedure following the 2014 season. Zimmer was also limited to just 4 2/3 innings in 2014 after suffering a strained latissimus dorsi muscle in his back. In five professional seasons, he has surpassed 70 innings pitched just once, throwing a career-high 108 1/3 innings in 2013.