KANSAS CITY -- The lat injury that has put No. 1 prospect Kyle Zimmer on the shelf did have reverberations in Kansas City.
"We were looking down the road at maybe after the All-Star break, if Kyle was really throwing good and there was a need, he might be a guy that we could bring up to help us," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "And even as deep as into September if he was throwing good, come up to the big league club and help us win some games."
Now, Zimmer, a right-hander, will be fortunate if he's even playing catch by the All-Star break.
Yost said he knows of other pitchers who have overcome the same injury to compete well.
"Ben Sheets had an injury like that, it was a little more substantial than his and Ben came back. He tore his lat completely off the bone and recovered. Jake Peavy did the same thing," the skipper said. "So, they've got a good history of guys coming back strong after it."
Ventura, Royals pleased with clean MRI results
KANSAS CITY -- So there must have a big sigh of relief emanating from Kauffman Stadium when it was learned prize pitcher Yordano Ventura was OK, right, Ned Yost?
"Not really," the Royals manager said. "I had a really good idea. We've got good doctors and when they tested him, I had a pretty good idea what the MRI was going to show and that's exactly what happened."
The MRI of Ventura's pitching elbow came back clean on Tuesday and the right-hander will be held out of one start as a precautionary measure.
"I feel good that I'm only going to miss one start. It could've been worse," Ventura said through his translator, fellow pitcher Bruce Chen. "I'm very thankful to God that everything is working out."
There was great concern when Ventura was taken out of Monday night's start against the Astros in the third inning after yielding five runs in the first two innings. He felt what Yost described as a "bang" in his elbow and shortly after his removal, head trainer Nick Kenney's report reduced fears.
The medical description of the ailment is valgus extension overload (VEO), sometimes called "pitcher's elbow."
"It happens to everybody -- it happens to outfielders, it happens to infielders, it happens to pitchers," Yost said. "It's just kind of a freak extension where they bang their elbow together. ... When Nick told me that the pain was on the other side of the elbow, that he only felt it when on extension from his fastball -- he didn't feel it on his breaking ball or his changeup -- I knew exactly what it was."
Ventura's pain was on the outside of his elbow, not the inside, which usually indicates trouble with the ulna collateral ligament. A torn UCL often results in Tommy John surgery.
"You still have a little bit of concern until the MRI comes back. But the UCL was in perfect shape and everything came back fine," Yost said.
That was welcome news in the Royals' clubhouse.
"It's perfect because nowadays, everything is surgery," said Ventura's friend, pitcher Kelvin Herrera. "Tommy John surgery takes you away for a year and nobody wants that. So it was good to hear this."
Ventura was scratched from his scheduled start on Saturday at Toronto. Yost said he was sifting through options for a substitute starter. It won't be Chen, still recuperating from a back ailment.
"Ventura is not going to throw for three days, then throw two side sessions and be ready to pitch on the start after," Yost said.
A smiling Ventura met with reporters on Tuesday afternoon.
"Right now, I don't feel any pain and I'm very grateful to God and the trainers for working with me so I can continue to get better."
The five runs scored by the Astros in the first two innings of their 9-2 victory had nothing to do with Ventura's VEO visit in the third inning when his velocity dropped abruptly.
"That was in the third inning after he'd already racked up 60 pitches in the first two," Yost said. "He had a bad night; it didn't have anything to do with the valgus extension. At the end it did when his velocity started dropping. But it happens to everybody."
No real mystery as to why Ventura will skip a turn.
"It's a little bit of common sense," Yost said.
Yost ejected after arguing on Guthrie's behalf
KANSAS CITY -- Royals manager Ned Yost usually doesn't come out to chat with his pitchers unless he's taking them out of the game. He leaves consultations to pitching coach Dave Eiland.
In the sixth inning of Tuesday night's 3-0 loss, after the Astros had loaded the bases with two outs, there was no one warming up in the Royals' bullpen. But Yost walked to the mound and talked to pitcher Jeremy Guthrie and the infielders for a couple of minutes. That was long enough to draw home-plate umpire Kerwin Danley out to prompt Yost to move things along. He did.
At that moment, Yost turned and unloaded a few choice words to Danley, evidently about his ball-strike decisions during the evening. Seconds later, Danley was giving Yost the heave-ho.
"I got frustrated on some calls that I thought Jeremy should've got. It was mostly my fault," Yost said.
Yost stayed around to jaw, long enough to get his money's worth, before heading for the clubhouse with his second ejection of his season.
Guthrie said that when Yost came out, he seemed upset by a couple of Danley's calls during that inning:
"I said, 'Both were probably balls, but the second pitch, I thought was probably close so do what you think is right.' He said, 'I think all night you've been battling and I'm going to stand up for you and go from there.' I definitely appreciate that."
Coleman, Mariot give bullpen break in opener
KANSAS CITY -- With the Royals falling behind the Astros, 7-1, by the fifth inning on Monday night, manager Ned Yost was grateful that Michael Mariot, who relieved starter Yordano Ventura in the third inning, and Louis Coleman could finish out the 9-2 rout.
"Yesterday was a big boost for us, having Mariot and Coleman finish that game off," Yost said before Tuesday night's game. "I mean there were points where you get into the third inning and you don't have [Tim] Collins, I didn't have [Kelvin] Herrera because they had thrown back-to-back days. I wasn't going to use [Wade] Davis or [Greg] Holland or [Aaron] Crow in that game.
"So, you're just hoping you can get 6 2/3 innings out of those guys and, if not, we'd have probably had to go to Brett Hayes or somebody to finish that game up. But they did a great job of keeping everybody down there, keeping them fresh and available at full strength today."
Yep, Hayes is the Royals' backup catcher. And, why not, he's already used to throwing that 60 feet 6 inches quite often.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.