Inbox: Errors, pitching a concern for Royals?

Beat reporter Jeffrey Flanagan answers questions from Royals fans

Inbox: Errors, pitching a concern for Royals?

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals come home off a winning road trip (4-3) and are tied for the second-best record (8-4) in the American League.

But, as always, some fans have concerns. And we're here to address those concerns. So let's get to it with the latest edition of the Inbox:

The Royals certainly have spoiled their fans in recent years with their phenomenal defense, so when on occasion they miss a play, it stands out. Salvador Perez's passed ball on Sunday cost the Royals a run in a 3-2 loss. Hey, even Gold Glove Award winners are human. But let's not forget the incredible plays by shortstop Alcides Escobar on this trip. Or those by third baseman Mike Moustakas. Errors alone are not a judge of great defense, but let's point out the Royals have made only four this season.

I'm getting a lot of questions and concerns about Joakim Soria and Young. Let's start with Young. For some reason, some fans think Young has been awful in all three starts. Not true. In his first start, he gave up just two runs over five innings against the defending National League champion Mets. And Young was going up against Noah Syndergaard, so everyone knew run support wouldn't be there and there was pressure on his every pitch. Tough assignment. So was pitching in Houston in the Astros' home opener. After what Young did last regular season and in the postseason, he has gained a long leash from manager Ned Yost. Pitchers go in slumps, just like hitters do, and Young has slumped the last two games. Now, if that slump stretches to four or five games, maybe Dillon Gee or Danny Duffy make a spot start. But Young has earned the chance to break out of this.

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As for Soria, I have to say I am a little confused by the freak-out. Soria has had one shaky outing, his first on Opening Night when his command clearly was off. But it's not like the Mets thrashed him around. He gave up three hits, all of which looked like they'd been hit with a rolled-up newspaper. One was hit so weakly that Moustakas had to chase it down in short left field. Soria also gave up a homer in a different outing to Byung Ho Park, who over the weekend hit one of the longest home runs ever at Target Field. That kid has serious power. As for Sunday, I don't believe Soria made one bad pitch. The triple by Billy Burns was on a pitch low and inside, and Burns perfectly placed a grounder over the bag that seemed to actually go under first baseman Eric Hosmer. Soria then got three outs. Is that really bad pitching? Soria also had a five-pitch save in Houston. Yost has the utmost confidence in Soria, for good reason.

Left-hander Jason Vargas is rehabbing with the team. Vargas had Tommy John surgery last August, and the Royals' timetable for pitchers coming off that surgery and returning to the big leagues is approximately 12-14 months. So, if you're doing the math, it would be a long shot to think Vargas could help in 2016.

That's fine, as long as someday we are discussing The Great Balbino Boulevard.

Both Kyle Zimmer and Mike Minor still are in extended spring training. Zimmer has been set back by some shoulder fatigue and just began throwing on the side again on Friday. Minor has been throwing against hitters in one-inning stints and reports are he looks terrific (touching 96 mph, sitting at 93 mph). Zimmer probably won't even go out on assignment for two or three more weeks, so there's almost zero chance you'll see him up here before the All-Star break. No need to rush Minor, either. Minor could be a second-half addition, if they need him.

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.