The Royals have placed left-handed pitcher Richard Lovelady on the injured list with a left UCL sprain, per a team announcement. Right-hander Tyler Zuber has been recalled to take his place on the roster.
While the extent of the injury isn’t known at this time, anything involving the UCL is always a cause for alarm. If this does end up as a serious injury, it would be very unfortunate for both Lovelady and the Royals. The lefty seemed to be finding his groove this year, after struggling a bit in his first tastes of the big leagues. In 2019, Lovelady logged 20 innings out of the Royals’ bullpen, but with a bloated ERA of 7.65. In the shortened 2020 season, he was only able to get a single appearance of one inning. But in 2021, in 20 2/3 innings, he has an ERA of 3.48, with strikeout and walk rates of 27.4% and 7.1%. (League averages are 23.4% and 8.7%.) The 26-year-old will now go on the shelf and figure out what options he has for recuperating.
Zuber, also 26, has an ERA of 6.00 across 18 big league innings this season, with a below-average strikeout rate of 20.7% and unsightly walk rate of 18.3%. His Triple-A performance has been much better, however. In 26 2/3 innings with the Omaha Storm Chasers, he has an ERA of 3.04, with a gaudy strikeout rate of 35.4%. He has still struggled with command, as evidenced by a walk rate of 13.8%.