The Kansas City Royals have places veteran starting pitcher Jason Vargas on the 15-day disabled list, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports:
Brutal day for Royals: Jason Vargas headed to disabled list with a flexor strain. Mike Moustakas is leaving the team for family emergency.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) May 8, 2015
Vargas is headed to the DL with a flexor strain and will be replaced by reliever Yohan Pino on the Royals' roster, with right-hander Chris Young likely taking his spot in the starting rotation, according to McCullough:
Re: Vargas, a flexor strain often precursor to Tommy John surgery. Yohan Pino takes his roster spot. Chris Young expected to fill rotation.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) May 8, 2015
Vargas signed a four-year, $32 million deal with the Royals prior to the 2014 season and had a 3.71 ERA, a career best, and 1.27 WHIP in 187 innings last season. He also allowed six runs in 15⅓ postseason innings in 2014. Vargas had a 5.26 ERA in his first five starts this season, striking out 14 in 25⅔ innings.
Young, his expected replacement in the rotation, is in his first season with Kansas City and has made seven appearances, including a start on May 1. He has a 1.06 ERA and 0.53 WHIP in 17 innings. Young made 29 starts last year with the Mariners, posting a 3.65 ERA in 165 innings. It was the first time Young had thrown more than 150 innings in a season since he was an All-Star with the Padres in 2007.
With starters at the back of their rotation struggling, the Royals were already rumored to be in the hunt for pitching in the trade market, with Scott Kazmir and Mike Leake as potential targets, and if Vargas misses significant time with his injury, or even needs Tommy John surgery, that would only increase the chances of the Royals acquiring a starter in a trade.