Royals manager Ned Yost breathed a sigh of relief. So did the front office. The Kansas City bullpen will not lose its closer.
Reliever Kelvin Herrera is not expected to miss much time, if any, after leaving a game Tuesday because of tightness in his forearm. On Wednesday afternoon, Yost confirmed that Herrera could be available immediately as the club continues a three-game series with the Colorado Rockies. Yost first unveiled the news in the morning during his weekly appearance on KCSP (610 AM).
Herrera walked off the mound Tuesday night after recording two outs and loading the bases in the ninth inning of an eventual 3-2 victory. He issued two walks and his fastball velocity dipped into the low 90s, which alarmed catcher Salvador Perez.
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Yost described the injury as “forearm tightness” in his postgame press conference and had little else to offer. But the anxiety, Yost said, dissipated as Herrera underwent a series of tests after the game.
“It was actually down right in here where he got stiff,” Yost said, pointing toward his right wrist. “He feels better today. He’s going to go out and play catch and see where he’s at.”
The news offered relief. Tightness in a pitcher’s forearm near the elbow is often associated with damage to the ulnar collateral ligament and ultimately can foretell Tommy John surgery. Herrera’s issue is significantly less serious, Yost said.
“I think all the major concerns were alleviated last night,” Yost said in his radio appearance. “When I left, I felt a lot better about the situation. We’ll just see where we are today. But part of me says we might need to give him one day. Part of me says he might be available to pitch tonight.”
Herrera, 27, has posted a 3.97 ERA and recorded 26 saves in 29 opportunities in his first season as the Royals’ primary closer.
The team is already without relievers Joakim Soria and Neftali Feliz, who areon the disabled list. Soria was placed on the 10-day disabled list Friday because of a “grade-one internal oblique strain.” Feliz landed on the disabled list one day later with a condition called “ulnar nerve palsy,” which causes numbness in the hand.
If the Royals are in need of a reliever to fill in for Herrera, they could turn to right-hander Brandon Maurer or left-handers Mike Minor and Scott Alexander. Yost said the assignment would depend on the situation.