Skoglund gets his first action of 2018 in start against Mariners

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There are rumors of a probable Eric Skoglund sighting on Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Skoglund is listed as the Kansas City Royals pitching probable for the second game of the series against the Seattle Mariners.

It has been 23 days since Skoglund was last seen on the mound. That would be March 17, when he went four innings in a spring training game against the Texas Rangers, a 7-6 Kansas City victory. He was scheduled to pitch on March 26, the exhibition finale in Omaha, but bad weather canceled the contest.

As the No. 5 starter, Skoglund has been skipped because of off days and three snow-day postponements.

Skoglund went 1-2 with a 9.50 ERA in five starts and two relief appearances last season. He pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings on May 30 versus the Detroit Tigers to win his big league debut 1-0 against Justin Verlander. In his final 11 2/3 innings, he allowed 19 earned runs.

Skoglund went 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in four spring training appearances, striking out 11 and walking none in 10 2/3 innings, permitting four earned runs.

“I see a pretty big difference in him,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of Skoglund’s confidence level. “Last year this was all new and big and quick for him up here. In spring training, you could tell the game has slowed down, that he’s got a lot more confidence in his ability. I’m hoping for the best for him tomorrow with the weather the way that it is.

“But he hasn’t pitched in two and a half weeks (actually more than three). It’s tough to stay sharp until you can get into a regular routine. We start his routine tomorrow, which will be good.”

While this will be Skoglund’s first appearance against Seattle, Mariners starter Felix Hernandez will be making his 15th career start against Kansas City.

Hernandez is 5-6 with a 3.05 ERA, allowing 32 earned runs over 94 1/3 innings. He is 2-4 with a 3.00 ERA in seven career starts at Kauffman Stadium. Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar is 7-for-22, .318, off Hernandez. Alex Gordon is 4-for-27, .148, off Hernandez, but likely won’t be in the lineup. Gordon has a groin strain that kept him out of the lineup Monday in a 10-0 Royals’ rout and he will likely miss another couple of games.

“We don’t want to push it this early, especially in this type of weather,” Yost said.

The Mariners will be without first baseman Ryon Healy, who went on the 10-day disabled list with a right ankle sprain. He suffered the injury in a post-game conditioning workout Saturday. After an MRI in Minneapolis, he returned to Seattle to confirm the results with Mariners orthopedist Dr. Edward Khalfayan.

“I haven’t heard the findings,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “The doctor wanted to take a look at it himself. We’ll just have to wait and see how it moves along.”

The M’s promoted right-hander Chasen Bradford from Triple-A Tacoma to replace Healy. Bradford’s addition gives Seattle a nine-man bullpen. Bradford pitched three scoreless innings against the Royals in the series opener.