KANSAS CITY -- In basically a flip-flop of the roster moves from Tuesday, the Royals placed left-hander Jason Vargas back on the disabled list and recalled right-hander Yordano Ventura, who had been demoted to Triple-A Omaha, on Wednesday.
The scheduled MRI on Vargas, who left Tuesday night's 3-1 win over the Pirates after 26 pitches because of elbow pain, showed a significant tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.
Royals manager Ned Yost knew Tuesday night that Vargas' injury was serious.
"When you see that reaction coming off the field that he had, you know what it is," Yost said.
Vargas eventually will get a second opinion, but Yost said Tommy John surgery was virtually a certainty.
"There's really no debate," Yost said. "We'll wait two weeks and let it calm down, let the swelling get out."
Left-hander Tim Collins also got a second opinion on his torn UCL in Spring Training, but he wound up having Tommy John surgery the same day.
Vargas, who is signed through 2017, could possibly be pitching again for the Royals by September 2016. Right-hander Luke Hochevar had surgery in March 2014, and he rejoined the Royals this May -- 14 months after the surgery.
"[Vargas] will come back and be as strong as he is now," Yost said.
Recalling Ventura, Yost said, was an "easy decision."
"There were two reasons we sent him down -- one, we felt he could have benefited from low pressure starts, but mainly it's because we needed protection," Yost said. "We needed to clear a spot and we needed a long man, and that was [Joe] Blanton. It was more out of necessity to have a long guy."
Ventura will take Vargas' spot in the rotation and pitch on Sunday against the Astros at Kauffman Stadium.
Ventura actually never left Kansas City for Omaha.
"He was scheduled to go up there this morning," Yost said. "But now he won't have to."
Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.