Panic about Yordano Ventura can wait, but maybe just hours

05/27/2014 12:40 PM

By the time you read this, maybe we’ll know otherwise about Yordano Ventura.

Maybe the injury he suffered on Monday against Houston will prove devastating and will make him a candidate for surgery.

Or maybe it will theoretically just shut him down for a week or two, a limbo that could signal the start of a torturous spiral.

But as of Tuesday morning before he was to undergo an MRI, remember that all that’s known publicly is what Andy McCullough reported in The Star late Monday:

“The team diagnosed discomfort on the lateral, or outer, side of his elbow. The inside part of the joint houses the ulnar collateral ligament, the one involved in Tommy John surgery. The team’s training staff assured (manager Ned) Yost there was no damage to that precious piece of fibrous tissue.”

So, Yost apparently at least has a basis for saying he’s “not concerned it’s a ligament injury.”

But, well, define how he means “concerned.”

Maybe he just meant that he doesn’t know it to be ligament damage and that there’s no reason to borrow trouble, to assume the worst, until it’s actually arrived.

Still, this is the essential elbow of a hard-throwing pitcher.

So Yost or anyone following the Royals will have to feel somewhere between uneasy and downright queasy until there is firm clarification otherwise.

And that’s going to be hard to provide even if the MRI is consistent with what the team already diagnosed.

Especially because of the anxieties triggered by the worrisome baseball-wide plague of season-ending arm injuries that this season already has jolted the Royals (Luke Hochevar).

Especially because Ventura has become a must-see performer even as a rookie, a captivating reason to believe in the Royals’ present and future,

Especially when the Royals are downright feeble offensively and can ill afford any further reduction in the pitching that has kept them afloat.

Especially when those ranks already have been thinned due to injuries (Hochevar and Bruce Chen).

And especially when prime prospect Kyle Zimmer on Tuesday was shut down for six to eight weeks because of a strained “right latissimus dorsi muscle.” The muscle is located below the right shoulder, and Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo told The Star that the issue is “almost a mystery.”

Now, purely in the context of this season, the Zimmer news is disconcerting but accentuated, maybe even warped, by the timing of Ventura’s circumstances.

As he was working through shoulder soreness and biceps tendinitis, Zimmer, after all, was months away from being able to have a chance to help the Royals in 2014, anyway.

Meanwhile, shoot, there’s an outside chance Ventura’s injury is less than catastrophic.

Well, OK, maybe it’s just a microscopic chance.

So, there’s actually plenty to fret about until we know otherwise.

And it all feels a bit cursed and looks bleak during an agonizing wait amid the encore season to the Royals best in 25 years, a season of promise that may have just suffered a major setback.

Still, seems best to see what this really is with Ventura first, or at least see it more clearly, before anticipating his season’s over and trying to reconcile the implications.

Because there will be plenty of time to despair and then sort that all out if we come to know it’s the miserable scenario it threatens to be.

To reach Vahe Gregorian, call 816-234-4868 or send email to vgregorian@kcstar.com. Follow on Twitter.com/vgregorian

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