Kyle Zimmer did not make a start before May because of a shoulder problem that surfaced in spring training and he did not make a start after May because of shoulder fatigue. He underwent Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery in July -- a procedure that essentially ended Chris Carpenter's career and was one of the final straws before Josh Beckett was forced into early retirement. Perhaps no pitching injury has been as consistently limiting in recent years as Zimmer's ailing right shoulder. He has only logged 74.1 innings since the start of 2014. There is no denying that he still has frontline stuff, as he logged a 2.30 ERA and 88:30 K:BB over that stretch. However, his inability to overcome the shoulder issue and this subsequent surgery overshadow all of the potential he demonstrates when he toes the rubber. He is expected to be ready for spring training, but at age 25 and with just 67.2 innings logged above High-A, Zimmer amounts to no more than a lottery ticket in dynasty leagues.
Zimmer was optioned to Double-A Northwest Arkansas on Wednesday, MLB.com's Jeffrey Flanagan reports. Though Zimmer remains one of the better pitching prospects in the Royals system, he's lost a little luster in dynasty formats over the last few years to ongoing shoulder troubles, which he addressed through Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery last summer. If Zimmer bounces back well from the procedure, he could make his MLB debut as a reliever at some point in 2017, but for now, the Royals will let the 25-year-old stretch out as a starter in the minors.
Zimmer allowed two earned runs and four hits in two innings of work against the Rangers on Sunday. Sunday was Zimmer's first time taking the mound in a game since undergoing Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery last July, and it did not go particularly well. His velocity dropped steeply in his second of his two innings pitched, but the 25-year-old said after the game that he was not overly concerned about the decrease, and that it was a matter of early-season fatigue more than anything else. Zimmer will look to build up stamina over the course of spring training, as he gears up for what he hopes will be an injury-free season.
Zimmer (shoulder) threw his second bullpen session of spring on Tuesday, noting he felt no pain afterwards, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports. This is obviously good news for the 25-year-old, who at this point last season was already starting to feel pain and taper off. The Royals are continuing to bring him along slowly, after he failed to pitch more than 65 innings in each of the last three seasons due to injuries. He is set to start his first Cactus League game Sunday.
Zimmer (shoulder) said Saturday that he is pain-free and throwing well after thoracic outlet syndrome rehab, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports. The 25-year-old is progressing along schedule after being shut down for the season in July last year. While it is good news that he is throwing pain-free, the surgery is a serious shoulder procedure that has proven an issue for other pitchers in the past. He hasn't pitched more than 75 innings since 2013, so we will see if he is finally able to shake his shoulder injuries and make the big league team.
Zimmer (shoulder) completed a four-week throwing program and will be ready for the start of spring training, MLB.com's Jeffrey Flanagan reports. The throwing program was standard protocol for pitchers recovering from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery, which Zimmer underwent in mid July. While he is expected to be ready for spring training, this is a serious shoulder procedure that has been a limiting factor in the careers of other pitchers. Zimmer has frontline stuff when healthy, but he needs to be heavily discounted due to the mounting health concerns with his shoulder.