Starting pitching has usually held strong for the Kansas City Royals this year, but some recent issues led to some momentum-shifting defeats. One of the biggest question marks among KC starters could soon be answered with the return of one of the team’s most well-liked members.
KC skipper Ned Yost told the media that Bruce Chen felt good while throwing a simulated game on Friday. The Royals’ plan for the recovering veteran involves a bullpen session on Sunday, then a trip to AAA Omaha shortly thereafter. His recent sessions have gone well and will continue to ramp up his pitch count, and on Friday he even put lefty Danny Duffy in his place.
So Chen should get back to 100% in the relatively near future, but what should Kansas City do with him when he returns? Should Chen be added to the rotation in Duffy’s place, or should the Royals send him to the pen and hold onto their trust in Duffy? This is no small decision that Yost and the Royals have to make, so perhaps that’s why Yost keeps Chen’s future role close to the vest.
I know this is all meaningless if the offense doesn’t get their act together, but we can’t talk about how terrible they are in every single post this month. After Duffy survived only four innings in his last start, it may be just the right time for an injection of Chen’s signature craftiness, regardless of his role. I’ll hold out on deciding where Bruce should go until I see the results of Duffy’s very important next start.