The Royals on Saturday activated Chris Young, sending the lanky right-hander to the bullpen after a stay on the 15-day disabled list. In a corresponding move, the club optioned left-hander Brian Flynn to Class AAA Omaha.
Young is expected to work in long relief after a forearm strain knocked him from the starting rotation in early May. He posted a 1-5 record with a 6.68 ERA in seven starts. In his final start before going on the disabled list, Young tied a club-record by allowing five homers in a loss to the Yankees in New York. Royals manager Ned Yost said Young could return to the starting rotation at some point, but for now, he will build up his workload as a long reliever in the bullpen. Young, who turned 37 on Wednesday, has said his forearm feels fully healthy again and the life has returned to his fastball.
Flynn, meanwhile, will return to Omaha and transition to the starting rotation. A 26-year-old left-hander, Flynn posted a 4.91 ERA in 7 1/3 innings over five appearances.
According to Yost, club officials viewed starting rotation depth as a potential area of need, necessitating the need to transition Flynn into a starter at Omaha.
Right-hander Miguel Almonte, one of the club’s top pitching prospects, is battling soreness, Yost said. Right-hander Kyle Zimmer, once viewed as a possible reinforcement during the summer months, is unlikely to contribute this season at the big-league level after a shoulder issue slowed his progress during spring training.
The Royals do have left-hander Mike Minor waiting as a possibility in June, but he has posted an 11.42 ERA in two rehab starts at Class AAA Omaha, allowing seven runs in 3 2/3 innings in his latest outing on Wednesday.
“We’re kind of low on starters if we need it,” Yost said. “If we get Flynn down there starting, it will give up another viable option.”