Yordano Ventura completed a 40-pitch bullpen session on Monday afternoon, a week after walking off the mound because of discomfort in his right elbow. The valgus extension overload in the joint cost him one start, but after his latest workout, pitching coach Dave Eiland pronounced Ventura ready to face the Cardinals on Thursday.
"He looked good," Eiland said. "You could tell that he wasn’t protecting anything. There was no discomfort. All systems go."
Ventura threw a lighter session off a mound on Saturday. This version was more intense. He threw all of his pitches, including his changeup and curveball.
During his last outing, Ventura only felt discomfort when throwing his fastball, team officials said. The pain resulted from bones in the joint colliding during his delivery. An MRI of his ulnar collateral ligament revealed no damage.
Still, the Royals will keep a watchful eye on Ventura (2-5, 3.45 ERA). He turns 23 on Tuesday, and he is precious cargo. Eiland indicated the team was still discussing how to handle his pitch count on Thursday. Ventura has thrown 100 or more pitches only five times in his career.
"We’re going to watch him carefully, obviously," Eiland said. "I don’t think it’s so much of he’s going to throw X amount of pitches. But how hard is he having to work? How hard is having to labor? How stressful are the innings?"