Royals move struggling Young to bullpen

Royals move struggling Young to bullpen

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals have at least temporarily decided to remove struggling Chris Young from the starting rotation, with the veteran right-hander plagued by a 6.90 ERA and having allowed 26 home runs in 60 innings.

Young had been scheduled to start Sunday against the Mariners, but manager Ned Yost said that start will probably go to Dillon Gee or Brian Flynn, depending on who might be needed relief-wise in the opening three games of the Seattle series. Yost added that Brooks Pounders might have been in the starter discussion, but Pounders could only go up to around the 60-pitch mark.

Yost said Young will work in long relief and should be ready to go Saturday, if needed.

"He's real frustrated with what's going on," Yost said. "He and [pitching coach Dave Eiland) have some ideas and things to work on. I thought the first two innings we saw in Toronto the other day was like 'Here we go.' And then, boom, it just fell apart in the third. He knows it has been a struggle for him, but he also knows he's going to get it right, too. We'll put him in the 'pen, get a couple of one-time-around-the-order [appearances], and see if it gets better. One time through the order in Toronto, he had five punchouts."

Because Sunday's game is the finale before the All-Star break, Yost will have added pitching options. He could even go with starter Ian Kennedy for a short stint on three days' rest.

"Yeah, if we need him," Yost said. "Sure. He could throw an inning or two on Sunday, easily."

The Royals can use the All-Star break to set plans for what they want to do with the fifth-starter role.

"We don't have any plan going forward right now," Yost said. "Right now, we'll go start to start and see how it goes."

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com based in Kansas City and covered the Royals on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.