An examination of Jason Vargas’ sore left elbow dealt another blow to the Royals starting rotation. Vargas strained the flexor muscle, which protects the ulnar collateral ligament, and landed on the 15-day disabled list.
The injury often serves as a precursor for Tommy John surgery. The Royals believe the consequences with Vargas will be less dire. Vargas indicated follow-up tests revealed no damage to the ligament. He expects he will be able to play catch in four or five days. He hopes to only miss two or three starts.
“There wasn’t any damage done to my ligament, or any changes shown there,” Vargas said. “So it’s just some inflammation in the flexor. As long as we get that under control and get it firing again, we should be good to move forward.”
The injury to Vargas was the most debilitating for the club among a flurry of roster maneuvers before Friday’s game with Detroit.
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Mike Moustakas also left the club for a family emergency and was placed on the bereavement list. He is eligible to return on Monday against Texas.
Yohan Pino received a promotion to take Vargas’ roster spot. Chris Young is expected to replace Vargas in the rotation. He will likely start against Detroit on Sunday. If the team needs to use Young in relief before then, manager Ned Yost indicated Danny Duffy could handle Sunday. Duffy lasted only one inning in his last outing.
In one positive bit of news, the Royals activated shortstop Alcides Escobar from the seven-day disabled list for his concussion.
The final move involved adding backup catcher Drew Butera to the roster. Francisco Peña was optioned to Class AAA Omaha.