No ice for catcher Drew Butera’s right wing after Saturday’s pitching appearance, the fourth of his major-league career.
“The first time I pitched I did that and I was super sore the next day,” Butera said. “The times I pitched after that I didn’t ice.”
Butera declared himself fit on Sunday, one day after pitching the ninth inning of the Royals 13-5 loss to the Astros.
The Royals were forced into the emergency situation when Chris Young became the second straight starter to get crushed by Astros hitters early. After a seven-run second inning, Young departed with one out in the third.
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A night earlier Edinson Volquez pitched one inning.
The abbreviated outings taxed the Royals’ middle relievers. In Friday’s 13-4 loss, five innings were required of Bryan Flynn and five of Dillon Gee. Saturday, Peter Moylan was asked to pitch 2 2/3 and Chien-Ming Wang three innings.
Royals manager Ned Yost didn’t want to burn one of his top bullpen arms — Luke Hochevar, Joakim Soria, Kelvin Herrera or Wade Davis — when Saturday’s game got out of hand.
Enter Butera, who did precisely what was asked of him in the difficult situation. He replaced Wang, who had opened the ninth. Butera surrendered an RBI double but retired the next three, including a strikeout of Marwin Gonzalez.
Butera threw 16 pitches, 10 for strikes, in the first appearance on the mound by a Royals position player since 2012. He dropped his career ERA to 4.91.
“The most important thing is when something like that happens is not to get anybody hurt,” Butera said. “Don’t hurt yourself, don’t hurt anybody on the other team, don’t hit anybody. It’s an unfortunate situation that I’m in there.
“If I give up 15 runs, I give up 15 runs. You don’t want to, obviously, but you’d rather have that happen than hurt yourself or somebody else.”