The Royals may have yet another roadblock as they try to make their way out of the longest active playoff drought in American sports as reliever Luke Hochevar will be sidelined for at least two months, says CBS Sports.
Hochevar, who is coming off a career-altering season that moved him from bust to brilliant with a shift out of the starting rotation. The season, his seventh in the league after being the first overall pick in the 2006 draft, saw the 6'5" righthander finish 22 games while posting a 1.92 ERA and an astonishingly low .825 WHIP in 70.1 IP as a reliever.
The injury, a strain in his UCL, came during a White Sox game Monday afternoon, when Hochevar felt a twinge in his elbow, which remained stiff and sore the following morning. An subsequent examination also showed a strain in the musculature around the elbow.
"I think we were a little bit nervous that it could have been worse," manager Ned Yost told reporters. "So hopefully we think that we got a better report - or, as good a report, as we could hope for, coming back. But you really won't know until three weeks, to see where we're at."
The injury is been treated as very serious, and according to manager Yost, the end of May/June are "best case scenario". Whether or not it leads to Tommy John surgery, and what that would means for the Royals, Hochevar, and Hochevar's impending free agency remains to be seen.
Joe Saunders signs with Rangers
Just hours after appearing in our free agent round-up, left-handed back-of-the-rotation starter Joe Saunders signed a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers in an attempt by the team to fill their fifth starter spot. Saunders, who is coming off a season considered by some to be underrated -- or at least not as bad as it looked at first glance -- has been a stalwart in the West (in both National and American leagues) for nearly his entire career, with relatively brief pit stops in Baltimore and Seattle preceded by longer tenures with the Angels and Diamondbacks.
With Derek Holland out for at least part of the year, and little depth beyond Yu Darvish and Martin Perez, the move is seen by some as indicative of desperation in the wake of serious issues with the team's staff. As for Saunders, that desperation appears mutual, as the southpaw has not been particularly successful in Texas's bandbox of a park. But, with a potential $1.5 million dollars on the line, it seems like Saunders will figure out a way to make it work. Not likely to get a chance to make it work, however, is outfielder Alex Castellanos, who was Designated for Assignment by the team to make way for the new pitcher.
Alex Castellanos designated for assignment to make room
Castellanos, who has had a long and winding road through the league following his drafting by the Cardinals appears to be the oddman out in Dallas following the Saunders signing. The outfielder, who joined the team following another designation for assignment by the Red Sox -- who themselves acquired him in a trade with the Dodgers for Jeremy Hazelbaker, who themselves acquired him in a trade with the Cardinals (who drafted him) for Rafeal Furcal -- has yet to make any discernible impact in the majors, with only a handful of plate appearances to his name.
At this point, him ever getting a chance to seem to get slimmer and slimmer by the day despite performing very well in the minor leagues. But, at only 27 years, there's still hope.