Royals pitcher Kris Medlen re-started a rehab assignment on Tuesday, throwing two scoreless innings for the Royals’ Rookie-league affiliate in Surprise, Ariz.
Medlen allowed three hits and struck out two batters. He is slated to transfer to Class AAA Omaha and continue his rehab stint with a start on Saturday. Tuesday’s performance marked his first appearance since he suffered a shoulder strain during a rehab start on July 5 in Des Moines.
Medlen, 30, could rejoin the Royals in September. He has a mutual option for $10 million in his contract for 2017 and is expected to become a free agent after the season.
▪ Left-hander Jason Vargas was slated to continue his rehab assignment at Class AA Northwest Arkansas on Wednesday. Vargas, who is returning from Tommy John surgery, could also be available to rejoin the Royals in September.
▪ Left-hander Mike Minor is scheduled to make his next rehab start at Omaha on Friday.
Orlando will continue to play center field — for now
When Lorenzo Cain returned from a hamstring injury in late July, Royals manager Ned Yost said Cain would log starts in right field as a way to limit the burden on his legs. In the three weeks since, Paulo Orlando has drawn the majority of starts in center and proven to be an adequate fill-in for Cain. As a result, Yost doesn’t appear ready to insert Cain back into center field.
“I like it, because it’s easy on Lorenzo’s legs,” Yost said. “It takes pressure off Lorenzo and Paulo’s doing a great job. Why do I have to think about it?”
For now, Yost remains noncommittal on when Cain could return to center field. On Wednesday, Yost called Orlando “a good center fielder” but described Cain as “one of the best center fielders in the game.” At some point, it appears Cain will return to center. But for now, Yost is comfortable with Orlando's play in center and Cain's continued rest in right.
“If it wasn’t working, (Cain would) be back out there,” Yost said. “But it is working.”