Minor pitched 1.1 hitless innings while issuing a walk and striking out two Sunday against Minnesota en route to his first win since 2014. Shoulder surgery kept the left-hander out of the majors for two years and resulted in a move to the bullpen. Minor -- who signed a two-year, $7.3 million deal with the Royals in February of 2016 -- got his first MLB victory since pitching for Atlanta on Aug. 28, 2014. Over 18 relief appearances (23.2 innings) this year, Minor owns a stellar 1.90 ERA and 0.89 WHIP with a 24:6 K:BB.
Minor recorded an out and allowed a hit Sunday against the Orioles en route to his third hold of the year. The left-handed specialist has appeared in 15 games this season while logging a total of 20.1 innings. Minor's pitched admirably, managing a 2.21 ERA and 0.89 WHIP, both of which are well below his career marks of 4.04 and 1.25, respectively. The veteran spent his entire career as a starter before the current campaign, but he's found a nice rhythm as a middle-relief man and should see ample opportunities to rack up holds in 2017.
Minor will not be considered to make a spot start in the foreseeable future, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports. After being selected in the first round of the 2009 draft by Atlanta, Minor spent his first five MLB seasons as a starter. However, an injury derailed him and led to exploratory surgery in 2015. He's now pitching in his first big-league campaign in more than two full seasons. For now, the club has no plans to remove the reins as they plan to carefully manage Minor's pitch count in 2017. "I want to get a full season, or at least half a season under his belt to get his arm and shoulder built up," manager Ned Yost said. "He hadn't pitched in the big leagues in a while. Last year [in the minors], he was really, really effective to about the 60-pitch mark, which doesn't work as a starter. So if you continue to build his shoulder up like we're doing, down the road, could he be a starter? Quite possibly." Minor owns a 2.50 ERA with a 9.0 K/9 through 18 innings.
Minor pitched 1.2 scoreless innings with a walk and three strikeouts during Thursday's loss to the White Sox. Moving to the bullpen has provided an uptick in velocity for Minor (93.3 mph), and after battling injuries for three seasons, it's likely he'll remain a reliever. The former first-round pick probably still needs some fine-tuning out of the 'pen, but Minor has the potential to grab a meaningful role in the future.
Minor was charged with a blown save after giving up a run on one hit and one walk while recording just a single out Saturday against the Angels. The southpaw took over a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh and left runners on first and second when he was taken out in favor of Joakim Soria, who surrendered a two-out RBI single that was charged to Minor. In six one-inning appearances, Minor has only retired the side in order once. His 1.50 WHIP doesn't bode well for future high-leverage chances.
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