Royals

After Tommy John rehab, Royals’ Jason Vargas hoping to complete first full season since 2014

Royals pitcher Jason Vargas will start on Friday as the Royals begin a three-game series at the Houston Astros.
Royals pitcher Jason Vargas will start on Friday as the Royals begin a three-game series at the Houston Astros. jsleezer@kcstar.com

Royals starting pitcher Jason Vargas said he sees no special significance in his scheduled start Friday night in Houston against the Astros. He is beginning his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery during the 2015 season. But in some ways, he already passed a major benchmark in his recovery from the reconstructive elbow surgery, making three starts last September.

“It’s the start of a new year,” Vargas said. “But no, nothing special for any reason other that.”

Vargas will take on a potent Astros lineup as the Royals seek to break a three-game losing streak and pick up their first victory of the season. On the heels of a long rehab process, a healthy winter and a productive spring training, Vargas is hopeful the start represents the beginning of a long and prosperous season.

In his last full season in 2014, Vargas posted a 3.71 ERA in 30 starts across 187 innings. The performance helped the Royals return to the postseason for the first time in 29 years. He will begin this season slotted fourth in the club’s rotation. Left-hander Danny Duffy will return on regular rest on Saturday before Nathan Karns makes his first scheduled start on Sunday.

“I feel like we’ve done everything that we need to do to be in a good situation to start the year and have a healthy year,” Vargas said. “So no one can predict the future, but right now, for everything that we did, I really didn’t have any issues and I’ve felt really good about being able to throw the ball and recover. I feel really good where I’m at right now.”

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