Jason Vargas continued to make progress in his rehabilitation from an appendectomy, and looks on track to return to the Royals rotation perhaps as early as next week.
Working out at Kauffman Stadium, Vargas played catch up to 110 feet, manager Ned Yost said. The team hopes he can throw a short bullpen session Wednesday. Pitching coach Dave Eiland estimated Vargas would only require two or three sessions off the mound before jumping back into action.
“He still feels a little stretching sensation in there,” Yost said before the Royals faced the Red Sox on Saturday. Yost added, “He’ll be fine.”
With Vargas out, Bruce Chen has taken his spot in the rotation. Chen will face Chicago on Tuesday. Chen gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings against Detroit last Sunday.
Vargas underwent his procedure on July 9 at a hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Cain gets a rest
Outfielder Lorenzo Cain received four days off during the All-Star break. But Yost still felt compelled to rest him for Saturday night’s game against Boston.
Yost had initially planned to sit him Sunday, but with southpaw Jon Lester starting Sunday for the Red Sox, the Royals require Cain’s right-handed bat in the lineup.
Jarrod Dyson started in center field and led off against right-hander Rubby De La Rosa.
Cain has remained healthy since returning from the disabled list on May 5. But Yost is still wary of Cain’s history with injuries and ailments, and he believed Cain suffered during the final games against Detroit after being worn down by a series at Tropicana Field.
“I think the three days in Tampa, on that turf, beat his legs up a little bit,” Yost said.
Hosmer extends hitting streak
With a first-inning single on Saturday, Eric Hosmer extended his hitting streak to a career-best 15 games.
He went hitless in his next three at-bats, but during this stretch he is batting .417.
His streak may still be young, but it is currently the longest-active hitting streak in the majors.
“That’s what this team needs,” Hosmer said Friday. “They need me going. I’ve got to be driving in runs. That’s just what I have to do. I just have to continue to put in good at-bats, stay selective, don’t go out of my zone, and just continue to get good pitches to hit, and don’t miss them.”