KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s that time of the year when a long, grueling season takes its physical toll.
The Royals are experiencing that as manager Ned Yost indicated Tuesday that starter Yordano Ventura will miss his next scheduled start Wednesday because of mid-back stiffness.
Yost said the injury does not appear serious, but the Royals believe the safest measure is for Ventura to skip a start to let the inflammation calm down.
Right-hander Liam Hendriks, acquired along with Erik Kratz in the Danny Valencia trade with Toronto, will make the start Wednesday. Hendriks is on the 40-man roster, but an accompanying 25-man roster move will have to be made Wednesday — and that will be tricky.
The move could be as simple as optioning someone such as Aaron Crow to Double A. Players optioned normally have to stay in the minors for 10 days, but they also can be recalled when a minor-league team’s season ends. Double-A Northwest Arkansas won’t make the playoffs and its season will end Monday. Triple-A Omaha is likely to make the playoffs.
Yost also indicated that second baseman Omar Infante is suffering from right shoulder inflammation and could miss "two to three days." Christian Colon was in the lineup Tuesday replacing Infante.
"It’s been bothering him a couple weeks and he has played through it," Yost said of Infante. "He’s been scuffling a little, too, so this will allow him to sit and rest."
Ventura reported some discomfort in his middle-back region after his last start Friday at Texas, a victory over the Rangers.
"It’s getting better," Yost said, "but there is no need to take any chances."
Hendriks was 4-1 with a 2.83 ERA at Omaha since he was acquired. In 33 big-league appearances, 31 of them starts, Hendriks is 3-13 with a 6.06 ERA.
But Hendriks, 25, reports that he has made some adjustments in the mechanics of his delivery this season that have increased his velocity to the 92-95-mph range.
"I’m just able to drive more toward the plate," he said.