Away from the team after the death of his father, Royals pitcher Chris Young is expected to return by his start Friday, manager Ned Yost said.
Young lost his father, Charles, on Saturday night. He told the team he could still pitch Sunday. He threw five no-hit innings against Cleveland. It was his first start in two months.
With a week left in the regular season, Yost has declined to speculate on the composition of his playoff rotation or his playoff roster. So Young’s role with the team’s pitching staff next month has yet to be determined.
“It’s too early to think about this,” Yost said before Monday’s game against the Cubs. “I’m not talking about the postseason roster when we have a week left.”
Yost expects to finalize his roster for the American League Division Series by Oct. 6. The roster must be turned in by the next afternoon. The Royals are expected to host game one at Kauffman Stadium on Oct. 8.
But Young (8-6, 3.30 ERA as a starter) does appear as an alternative to Kris Medlen, who has battled a lack of command in his last three outings. This shakiness is typical of pitchers who return from Tommy John surgery, as Medlen (4-2, 4.97 ERA as a starter) is doing for the second time.
Medlen gave up six runs Saturday and could not complete the fourth inning. Young provided an intriguing counter a day later. The Royals will debate how to deploy their pitchers in the coming days.
Young kept the rotation afloat for much of the season’s first three months. He lost his spot in late July after the club acquired Johnny Cueto. Yost chose Jeremy Guthrie over Young, despite Young’s obvious statistical case. Yost suggested on Monday that the club wanted to avoid fatiguing Young’s surgically repaired right shoulder in the second half.
“That was part of the reason why we wanted him in that situation,” Yost said. “So he would be fresh for the end. There’s so much more to him than just his pitching ability. It’s his makeup. It’s his competitiveness. It’s his professionalism. It’s his clubhouse persona. He’s highly respected.”