In Bruce Chen's last start, on May 5, the Royals beat the Orioles 9-1 to improve to 17-14 on the year. At that point, they were in second place in their division, chasing after the red-hot Cleveland Indians.
A few days after that start, Chen was placed on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, and since then the Royals have dropped all the way to 31-44, locked in the basement. So as Chen returns to the Royals from the DL on Friday night, he might be wondering what happened while he was gone.
Chen's been activated and will start against the Cubs on Friday. Everett Teaford was optioned to triple-A Omaha to make roster room. Chen is not a great starter, but he is a great starter on the Royals, who own an AL-worst 5.14 rotation ERA. Chen had allowed 18 runs in 42-2/3 innings before getting hurt, and his return should provide a little stability for what's been a wildly unstable and unreliable group of arms. It'll still be a bad unit, but it'll be a bit less bad, which is something.
Just the other day, the Kansas City Royals placed Bruce Chen on the disabled list, which was bad news considering Chen began the season as the Royals' best starter. He was scheduled for an MRI on his shoulder, and now we have the results:
Exam reveals inflammation in LHP Bruce Chen's left lat. Will be shut down for seven days before starting throwing program....
Royals now thinking Chen will be out three weeks, but that's highly subject to change.
Three weeks without Bruce Chen is bad news for the Royals, but it's an awful lot better than three months without Bruce Chen, in this weird world of ours in which Bruce Chen is the most dependable and effective member of a Major League starting rotation.
Expect Vin Mazzaro to hang on to Chen's rotation spot until he comes back. In Mazzaro's first start, he allowed two runs in four innings against the Yankees, with four walks and two strikeouts.
#Royals to put LHP Bruce Chen on 15-day DL because of strained left lat. RHP Vin Mazzaro will be recalled from Omaha and start Wednesday ..
After playing for 10 teams in 13 seasons, Chen has seemingly found a home in Kansas City, throwing 140 quality innings for the Royals last season, and getting off to a quick start this year. He is 4-1 in 2011, with a 3.59 ERA in 43 innings.
Mazzaro came over from the Athletics as one of the main components of the David DeJesus deal, and the 24-year-old right-hander was holding his own in Triple-A Omaha, throwing 25 innings and striking out 27.