After a lackluster outing for Class AAA Omaha on Friday, Royals starter Yordano Ventura will make at least one more rehabilitation start in the minors before he rejoins the big-league club.
Ventura pitched on Friday for the first time since experiencing numbness in three fingers on his right hand against the Cardinals on June 12. He was diagnosed with irritation of the ulnar nerve in his right elbow. Ventura threw 70 pitches across four innings for the Storm Chasers. He gave up three runs on three hits and three walks.
“The stuff was OK,” manager Ned Yost said before Saturday’s victory over the Athletics. “Ninety-seven miles per hour. Decent curveball. (We need to) just get him back into a good rhythm, just get him back into a good spot. So when he comes up here, he’s ready to go.”
The team has the luxury of taking their time with Ventura, in part because of the efforts of his replacement, Joe Blanton. In two starts, Blanton has given up two runs in 11 innings. Blanton will start against Houston on Monday at Minute Maid Park.
Meanwhile, Jason Vargas is also inching closer to a return. He tested his sore left flexor muscle with an intense bullpen session on Saturday that lasted 34 pitches. The team has scheduled him to throw another session on Monday and pitch in a simulated game on Thursday.
On Saturday, Yost said, Vargas “felt as good as he’s felt” since experiencing discomfort in his elbow during the second week of June.