Royals lose Paulino to injury, get Perez off DL
Royals manager Ned Yost has been around baseball his entire
life, and he has a hard time recalling a season in which two
pitchers needed Tommy John surgery.
Let alone four.
Felipe Paulino tore a ligament in his right elbow and likely
will join Danny Duffy, Joakim Soria and Blake Wood in having
reconstructive elbow surgery, putting a damper on the long-awaited
return of catcher Salvador Perez from the disabled list.
The Royals said Paulino will get a second opinion from Los
Angeles Angels medical director Dr. Lewis Yocum, but the
right-hander said surgery is a certainty.
Yocum also performed Tommy John surgery on Duffy, Soria and
”You check around and see how many pitchers are going down with
Tommy John this year. It’s a very disturbing number,” Yost said
before Friday night’s game against St. Louis.
”I don’t have the reason why,” Yost said. ”I don’t know why
there’s such a big number of guys going down with Tommy John
surgeries this year, but we’re not immune to it by any stretch of
the imagination, and our numbers have added greatly to it.”
The injury to Paulino is particularly devastating to the Royals
because he had emerged as their most dependable starter, going 3-1
with a 1.67 ERA in seven starts this season.
Paulino opened the year on the DL because of a strained left
forearm, and was coming off six innings of three-hit ball against
Oakland when he hurt his groin June 6. He landed on the DL again,
but was working his way back on a rehab assignment when he hurt his
He was pulled after throwing 54 pitches in three innings
”It really surprised me,” Paulino said. ”I was just on my
rehab, getting ready to make my start Monday, and it just
Paulino said he knew something bad happened when he felt pain in
his elbow, but he doesn’t think the injury had anything to do with
his strained forearm or the groin injury.
”I never felt that before,” Paulino said. ”I was supposed to
go three innings, four innings, and in the third inning, something
The Royals lost Duffy when the promising young left-hander was
pulled from a start May 13 at the White Sox and was found to have
torn elbow ligaments. Jonathan Sanchez has spent time on the DL
this season, and fill-in starter Everett Teaford also has been
All told, Kansas City has used 10 starting pitchers this
”Obviously, it’s changed our plans for the rest of the year,”
Yost said. ”You’ve got to move on. What’s happened has happened.
It was a big blow when we lost Duffy. It was a big blow when we
lost Soria and Blake Wood the same way. But the world doesn’t stop
turning. It gives somebody an opportunity that they might not have
had otherwise to show what they can do.”
It’s unclear who will move into the rotation in Paulino’s place,
though Will Smith and Nate Adcock have made starts for Kansas City.
Jake Odorizzi might finally get his chance at the big leagues after
going 4-0 with a 2.41 ERA at Omaha, while fellow Triple-A prospects
Mike Montgomery (3-3, 4.79) and Ryan Verdugo (5-2, 3.65) also could
get a look.
The 22-year-old Perez made a big impression on the Royals late
last season, hitting .331 with three homers and 21 RBIs in 39
games. It was enough for Kansas City to sign him to a $7 million,
five-year deal that includes three team option years during spring
Perez tore cartilage in his knee on March 13, shortly after
signing the new contract.
The Royals purposely took it slow with his rehab, making sure
Perez could catch a full nine innings before he returned to the big
league club, and he hit .340 during 12 games at Omaha.
”I feel more than great,” Perez said. ”I don’t even want to
think about (the injury), but it was probably one of the most
frustrating things I’ve ever been through.”
Kansas City acquired Humberto Quintero after Perez got hurt, and
he’s split time behind the plate with Brayan Pena. Yost said he’ll
carry all three catchers for now.
The Royals made roster space for Perez by optioning left-hander
Tommy Hottovy to Omaha and transferring outfielder Lorenzo Cain to
the 60-day DL. Cain has been out with a hip injury, but he’s
already spent more than 60 days on the DL, which means he can
return at any time.
He resumed a rehab assignment this week and could be back before
the All-Star break.