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Royals Pitcher Returns from Injured List for Start Against Rangers

The Kansas City Royals activated right hander Michael Wacha from the injured list on Saturday and will start him against the Texas Rangers. Wacha missed nearly three weeks due to a “small, non-displaced” fracture in his left foot. In a corresponding move, the Royals optioned righty Steven Cruz to Triple-A Omaha.

Royals Activate Michael Wacha from the Injured List

The Royals seem pleased that Wacha returned so quickly. At the time of the injury, Royals manager Matt Quatraro told reporters that Wacha’s timeline to return depended on his pain management. The soreness in the veteran’s foot clearly progressed well.

“His rehab went well, he’s feeling good, and we’re lucky it’s as short term as it was,” Quatraro told reporters.

For what it’s worth, Wacha looked good in his lone rehab outing on June 17 with the Royals rookie-level Arizona Complex League affiliate. He tossed four scoreless innings with six strikeouts and no walks.

In the outing, Wacha threw 48 pitches in the game and 18 more in a bullpen session right after. Plus, he tossed another bullpen session on June 20. It seems that Wacha will return from the injured list with little to no limitations regarding pitch count.

“It feels like it healed up pretty quick,” Wacha said. “And I was able to keep my arm in shape.”

Before landing on the injured list, Wacha pitched well for the Royals after signing a two-year deal in the offseason. The 32-year-old posted a 4.24 ERA (97 ERA+) in 68 innings across 12 starts. Despite lacking ace upside, Wacha provided the Royals with quality innings by limiting walks and inducing poor contact.

Activating Wacha from the injured list one day after getting another offseason signing back (outfielder Hunter Renfroe) will surely boost the Royals with over a month before the trade deadline. The Royals remain in the thick of postseason contention after a hot start.

The team enters Saturday in second place (seven games back of first) in the American League Central. However, Kansas City currently holds a Wild Card spot by 1.5 games and has a real chance to earn its first playoff berth since 2015.

Steven Cruz

Kansas City called up Steven Cruz on June 20 after placing reliever Dan Altavilla on the injured list with a right oblique strain. He did not appear in a game, but has posted a 4.33 ERA in 27 innings at Triple-A this year with 30 strikeouts and 12 walks. Kansas City wants the high-powered 25-year-old to work on his command to hopefully give the team another high-powered arm.

Main Photo: © William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

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