Opinion

Ned Yost won’t commit to keeping Jeremy Guthrie in Royals rotation

Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie
Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie AP

A day after another ineffective outing from starter Jeremy Guthrie, who gave up three runs and could not finish the fifth inning on Wednesday, manager Ned Yost declined to say whether Guthrie would remain in the rotation.

Guthrie, who’s 8-7 with a 5.64 ERA, would be in line to start on Monday against the Orioles. But the Royals have not released their rotation for that series.

“I haven’t thought about it,” Yost said before a series opening with the Red Sox at Fenway Park. “Like I’m going to sit here and tell you if he is or he isn’t.”

The Royals employ two viable options if they chose to remove Guthrie from the rotation. Chris Young posted a 3.49 ERA in 16 starts earlier this season, before losing his spot when the team acquired Johnny Cueto before the trade deadline. Yost opted for Guthrie over Young, despite little statistical evidence to show Guthrie is a better pitcher.

And even if Guthrie no longer starts, it appears more likely the team will give an opportunity to Kris Medlen, who is signed to a two-year contract and expected to contribute to the rotation in 2016.

Medlen has a 3.18 ERA in six relief outings. On Tuesday, he pitched an inning and earned credit for his first victory since Sept. 27, 2013.

The statistics of Guthrie stand out among his Royals peers, and not in a positive light. Team officials have often pointed to one ugly outing — a one-inning, 11-run disaster in New York — as the source of his elevated ERA. But even since that outing, Guthrie has posted a 5.02 ERA in 14 outings.

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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