Opinion

Yordano Ventura likely to pitch one more rehab start before rejoining Royals

Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura
Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura JSLEEZER@KCSTAR.COM

Yordano Ventura will “probably” complete at least one more minor-league rehabilitation start before he rejoins the Royals, manager Ned Yost said before Thursday’s series opener against the Twins.

Ventura has now pitched twice for Class AAA Omaha as he recovers from ulnar nerve irritation in his right elbow.

“We would like to have it knocked out, so it doesn’t linger,” Yost said.

Ventura gave up one run on three hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings on Wednesday for the Storm Chasers. He struck out four.

The Royals can afford to be cautious with Ventura, so long as his replacement, Joe Blanton, continues to perform. The Astros tagged Blanton for five runs in 2 2/3 innings on Monday. Blanton starts again on Saturday, and Yost indicated the club could accelerate Ventura’s timetable if they decide it’s the best course of action.

“We’re still looking at it,” Yost said.

Ventura lost feeling in three fingers on his right hand in his outing on June 12. On Wednesday, Yost explained, Ventura still felt a brief issue with the numbness.

“Good fastball, 97 to 100 mph,” Yost said. “Still had a little issue with just a little spot, feeling it. But it went away quick. So that’s good.”

A few hours before Thursday’s game, the Royals’ other injured starter took the mound. Jason Vargas (strained left flexor muscle) threw two innings in a simulated game. Yost indicated Vargas would throw a 60-pitch simulated outing on Tuesday. Vargas could require a minor-league rehab start before he returns.

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4730 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @McCulloughStar. Download True Blue, The Star’s free Royals app, here.

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