Right-hander Yordano Ventura will make another rehab start for Class AAA Omaha on Monday night, Royals manager Ned Yost said before Saturday night’s game against the Minnesota Twins.
“Finger felt good. No issues,” Yost said. “So he’ll do another rehab start on Monday, and we’ll evaluate it and see where we’re at.”
Yost’s comments came on the heels of Ventura’s 30-pitch side session in the Royals bullpen under the watch of pitching coach Dave Eiland before Friday night’s 3-2 10-inning win over Minnesota.
Ventura has been dealing with ulnar nerve irritation in his throwing elbow, which caused him to lose feeling in three of his fingers.
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After his bullpen session Friday, Ventura said he felt good and threw without any pain.
Cain hot on Fourth
Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain continued his rampant run production on Independence Day. Cain drove in a pair on a single to left in the fifth inning for his 35th and 36th RBIs of the season.
Cain now has eight RBIs on his last three Fourth of July’s. In 2013, he hit a grand slam. Last season, he drove in two runs with a double.
▪ The Royals have also had successful Independence Days. Although the loss dropped them to 26-20 on the holiday, they came into the day with the third best winning percentage (.578) of all major-league teams on July 4.
Only the Nationals (.635) and the Diamondbacks (.588) entered Saturday with more success on the Fourth of July.
Big day for Mauer
Joe Mauer had a season-high four hits on Saturday, going four for five, including a two-run home run in the first inning that gave the Twins a lead they would not surrender.
Mauer is now hitting .365 (65-178) against pitchers on the Royals’ active roster.
“I’ve been feeling pretty good lately, the last couple of weeks. Tonight, I had something to show for it,” Mauer said. “I felt good at the plate tonight. Hopefully it carries over into tomorrow.
On his home run, Mauer said that being ahead 2-0 in the count allowed him to look for something to drive out over the middle of the plate.
“I was looking for something middle-in and drive it to the right side of the field,” Mauer said.
Mauer came into Saturday night’s game a .323 lifetime hitter against the Royals, with 12 home runs and 103 RBIs.
“It’s a great ballpark,” Mauer said of Kauffman Stadium. “For whatever reason I enjoy hitting here.”
Extra inning for Finnegan
Left-hander Brandon Finnegan pitched a scoreless 1-2-3 sixth inning in relief of Joe Blanton, and Yost left him in for the seventh.
Finnegan gave up a leadoff single to the switch-hitting Dean Santana. Two batters later, with Finnegan still in for a lefty-on-lefty matchup, Mauer shot a single into right field on a hit-and-run, allowing Santana to advance to third. He scored on a Torii Hunter sacrifice fly.
The run proved to be the game’s final score and a key insurance run for the Twins.
Although Kelvin Herrera was ready to go in the Royals’ bullpen, Yost said he was going to let Finnegan face Mauer anyway.
“We were probably gonna get Herrera even if he got Mauer out to try and keep that game right there at one,” Yost said.