Royals right-hander struck by ground ball, exits after 5 innings
By Scott Chasen
KANSAS CITY -- After being struck in the ribs by a ground ball, Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura was removed from Saturday's 7-4 loss to the Rangers. The club announced Ventura is day to day with a right rib contusion and X-rays were negative.
Ventura said he expects to be fine moving forward.
"I lost my breath right away," Ventura said through interpreter Pedro Grifol. "It hurt at first, but I recuperated pretty good."
Ventura fielded the ball, which was hit with an exit velocity of 109 mph according to Statcast™, and completed the throw over to first to get the out. He fell to the ground after the play and appeared to be holding his mid-section.
Royals trainer Nick Kenney came out to check on Ventura, who was replaced in the next inning by right-hander Joakim Soria. Ventura walked off the field under his own power.
"Our thought process was to send him back out in the sixth [before the injury]," manager Ned Yost said. "But the ball that [Adrian] Beltre hit off his ribs ... It hurt [him]."
Ventura pitched five innings and gave up four walks, three hits and three earned runs. He retired the first nine batters he faced, but had trouble the second and third times through the order, most notably with Nomar Mazara, who homered off Ventura in the fourth and doubled in another run in the fifth.
"The first three innings were dynamite. [Ventura] just waltzed right through them with 40 pitches," Yost said. "All in all, the only player that hurt him was Mazara."
With Ventura out of the game, the Royals turned to Soria for the sixth and seventh innings. Yost said he had talked with Soria about potentially going multiple innings before the game, and that he thought Soria looked fine heading out for the seventh.
Soria made his way through the sixth unscathed, but he gave up four runs after returning for the seventh, including a home run to Beltre with two on and two out that broke the game open.
"He's been off five days. He's the strongest guy we had down there," Yost said. "We just felt like it was the best option ... He wasn't dropping in velocity. His stuff was still fine."
Likewise, Soria said he wasn't happy with the result, but that he didn't feel like he pitched poorly. Soria confirmed he had talked with Yost about going multiple innings before the game, and Soria said even on the home run, he didn't think he necessarily made a mistake.
"I felt good coming out of the dugout [for the seventh]," Soria said. "I feel like I made pretty good pitches ... The result wasn't what I wanted."
Scott Chasen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Kansas City. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.