Ned Yost is planning to reset his post-All-Star break pitching rotation while left-hander Jason Vargas recovers from an appendectomy.
No. 1 starter James Shields, who will pitch Saturday against Detroit, will open the second half the season at Boston on July 18. Left-hander Danny Duffy, who started Friday, will slide into Vargas’ spot as the No. 2 starter.
Rookie Yordano Ventura will pitch the third and final game of the Boston series, while Jeremy Guthrie and Bruce Chen will slot into the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation. Guthrie would open the Royals’ next series, at Chicago, and Chen, who is expected to start Sunday for Vargas, would pitch game two against the White Sox on July 22.
Pushing Vargas to the back of the rotation will allow him more time to recover, but he won’t be eligible to come off the disabled list until after his next projected turn in the rotation. Yost said the trainers are still projecting three weeks of recovery for Vargas — though it could be sooner.
“The trainers are not very optimistic that that’s going to happen,” Yost said.
Yost doesn’t believe that Vargas will need any rehab starts following his stint on the disabled list, but he’s not ruling it out yet.