Zimmer's MRI comes back clean, will resume throwing next week
JUL 08, 2014 10:29a ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Right-hander Kyle Zimmer, the Royals' top pick in the 2012 draft, has been cleared to resume his throwing program early next week after an MRI taken last week in Arizona came back clean.
Zimmer had been shut down in May after experiencing discomfort in his back while throwing off the mound. It was revealed that he had suffered a strained right latissimus dorsi muscle.
Since then, Zimmer has mostly remained at the team's spring training complex in Surprise, Ariz., resting and rehabbing. But after imaging of the injury last week showed no inflammation, Zimmer flew back to Kansas City and was examined by Royals physicians, who cleared him to resume throwing.
"He's pretty excited to get back into it now," Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said by phone.
Picollo indicated the best-case scenario for Zimmer would be for him to complete his throwing program in four weeks or so, then finish the regular season at one of the Royals' minor-league affiliates in late August.
The Royals have not determined where that assignment will be. Zimmer had been scheduled to join Double-A Northwest Arkansas in late May before the injury sidetracked him, but Picollo said Zimmer might not end up there.
"We're not that concerned about what level he'll return at," Picollo said. "It's more about how many games and innings he can get, so he'll go to whichever team has the most games left."
Picollo said Zimmer was in good spirits, all things considered.
"I think he was obviously frustrated by the setback this year," Picollo said. "He had high expectations to get to Double A, and then advance from there, and then this injury happened and it probably seems like a wasted year.
"But we can still salvage quite a bit and get him as many innings as we can."
The Royals expect Zimmer to throw additional innings in the Instructional League, and then pitch in the Arizona Fall League after that.
"It won't be wasted if we can get him his work in this fall," Picollo said. "Everyone's timetable to the big leagues is a little different. Fortunately for him, this injury wasn't a ligament issue."
Zimmer's biggest issue the last few weeks has simply been boredom.
"Yeah, he's been kind of stuck down at the complex in Arizona," Picollo said. "So we brought him into Kansas City for a few days to see our doctors, then we sent him to Northwest Arkansas for a few days just to break up the monotony and visit with his old teammates, and I think that really helped him. He enjoyed that."