Royals want Lamb to get workload at Omaha

Royals want Lamb to get workload at Omaha

KANSAS CITY -- Seemingly the No. 1 question many Kansas City fans are asking these days: Why can't left-handed prospect John Lamb get a shot at the Royals' rotation?

That question emerged again on Wednesday when the Royals had to find a replacement for the injured Jason Vargas: It was Yordano Ventura, whom they had just demoted to Triple-A Omaha a day before.

For now, Lamb, who is 9-1 with a 2.75 ERA at Omaha, will stay in the Minors.

Why did the Royals opt for Ventura over Lamb?

"Because we want Ventura," manager Ned Yost said. "John Lamb is doing fine. John Lamb is going to be a big league pitcher. But we need to get Yordano going if we're going to do what we expect to do this year. Ventura has to be a big part of it."

Asked if there was anything Lamb, who just turned 25, had to do to get a shot, Yost said, "Nothing. He needs to continue doing what he is doing. He's got to keep pitching. He'll get his break."

There is some thinking within the Royals' organization that Lamb likely could benefit from a full season of success at Omaha. Keep in mind that Lamb had Tommy John surgery in 2011 and struggled mightily over the next three seasons.

In 2013, Lamb had a combined 5.80 ERA at two stops in the Minors. Last year, Lamb started showing flashes of the pitcher once considered a Top 10 Royals prospect. He had a 3.97 ERA at Omaha and struck out 131 in 138 1/3 innings. But his WHIP was way too high -- 1.48.

Yost sees no reason to rush Lamb.

"I fully expect him to come to Spring Training and compete for a job," Yost said. "And if something were to happen here down the road, we wouldn't hesitate to call him."

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.