The Royals bullpen was dealt another blow Saturday.
One day after Joakim Soria officially landed on the disabled list, the club placed reliever Neftali Feliz on the 10-day DL because of a condition called “ulnar nerve palsy.” To fill his spot on the 25-man roster, the team recalled left-hander Eric Skoglund from Class AAA Omaha.
Royals manager Ned Yost said Feliz was suffering from numbness in his right hand caused by the issue with his ulnar nerve, which runs the length of the arm. He was unavailable Friday night in the series opener against the Cleveland Indians. When the condition did not improve on Saturday, the team was forced to make a move.
“You know when you wake up and your hand is all numb?” Yost said. “Well, he woke up and his hand is numb and it hasn’t gone away.”
Feliz, 29, has posted a 4.74 ERA and struck out 16 in 19 innings since signing with the Royals on June 23. Four days earlier, he was released by the Milwaukee Brewers following a difficult early-season stretch.
Skoglund, 24, has recorded a 4.07 ERA in 20 starts this season at Omaha. He also posted a 5.59 ERA in three starts for the Royals, including 6 1/3 scoreless innings against the Detroit Tigers in his major-league debut on May 30. He returned to Omaha in mid June after struggling in his next two starts. He focused on refining the command of his secondary stuff, he said.
“Just being able to keep guys off balance,” Skoglund said. “And just enjoying it and having fun again. When (Danny) Duffy came down for those couple of rehab starts, you can just tell by the way he plays the game that he just enjoys it and has fun, and I kind of took that away … and it kind of helped me.”
Skoglund wore No. 53 during his first stint with the Royals, but that number has been claimed by outfielder Melky Cabrera. On Saturday, Skoglund switched to No. 69.
Junis could start Thursday
For now, the Royals are listing rookie right-hander Jakob Junis as the likely starter Thursday against the Colorado Rockies at Kauffman Stadium. Junis’ spot in the rotation was skipped this weekend after a day off on Thursday. The club also has an off day on Monday.
Duffy is scheduled to open the three-game series against Colorado on Tuesday night. Ian Kennedy is set to return Wednesday on regular rest. But manager Ned Yost said he could bring Junis back on Wednesday and move Kennedy to Thursday if Kennedy needs an extra day of rest.