The Royals announced Wednesday that they’ve selected the contract of veteran right-hander Mike Mayers from Triple-A Omaha. Lefty Amir Garrett was placed on the family medical emergency list in a corresponding 26-man roster move, while left-hander Ryan Yarbrough was transferred to the 60-day IL in order to open a spot on the 40-man roster.
Yarbrough has been on the 15-day IL since May 7, when he was struck in the face by a comeback line-drive off the bat of A’s first baseman Ryan Noda. The Royals announced on May 9 that Yarbrough would not require surgery but had sustained multiple facial fractures and was entering concussion protocol. Today’s shift to the 60-day IL means he’ll be out until at least early July.
Mayers, 31, has seen big league time in seven prior MLB seasons — all split between the Cardinals and Angels. He posted strong numbers with the 2020-21 Halos, logging a combined 3.34 ERA with a 30.5% strikeout rate, 8% walk rate, 35.9% ground-ball rate and 1.11 HR/9 in 105 innings — picking up four saves and 22 holds along the way.
Unfortunately, Mayers’ 2022 campaign more closely mirrored his rough four-year stretch with the Cardinals; in 50 2/3 innings last year, Mayers was tagged for a 5.68 ERA with diminished strikeout abilities and fastball velocity. He also yielded a career-worst 2.66 homers per nine frames with lofty opponents’ exit velocity and hard-hit rate marks (91.2 mph and 48.1%).
The Royals inked Mayers to a minor league contract over the winter, and he’s spent the 2023 season in their Triple-A rotation, where he’s been hit hard. In eight starts, Mayers has lasted just 34 innings with a 6.88 ERA, a sub-par 18.1% strikeout rate and an elevated 10.6% walk rate.
Kansas City has an off-day today and, as such, won’t need a starter in the near future. They’re lined up with Zack Greinke, Jordan Lyles, Brad Keller and Brady Singer to make their scheduled turns Friday through Monday, so it seems likely that Mayers will step into the bullpen and provide some length. The Royals’ pitching staff as a whole has flopped in 2023, as their collective 5.32 ERA ranks 28th in the sport and leads only the White Sox (5.44) and Athletics (7.18).