Having allowed 24 earned runs over 25 MLB innings in his career, seeing Brian Flynn's 2016 performance culminate in a 2.60 ERA and 1.10 WHIP may come off as too good to be true. For one, Flynn wasn't prone to retiring batters by way of the strikeout, as he posted a mediocre K-rate of 19.9 percent. Control wasn't his forte either, for more than 10 percent of the batters he faced wound up reaching base via a walk. Rather, he relied on his fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup pitch arsenal to keep hitters on their toes. As a result, Flynn rode a 2.22 GB/FB to the forefront of the Royals' bullpen and ended the season as their fourth-most-used reliever. However, Kansas City seldom used Flynn in high-leverage situations, which led to him accruing just two holds on the year. For 2017, he'll figure to start the year as a primary relief option for the club, but could quickly fall back in the hierarchy if he reverts to his old, run laden ways.
Flynn (ribs) has also been diagnosed with a lumbar vertebal fracture and was placed on the 60-day disabled list Wednesday, MLB.com reports. The Royals revealed earlier this week that Flynn fractured his rib after falling through the roof of his barn, but it appears he may have also wrenched his back in the process. Flynn was initially given an eight-week recovery timetable, but his placement on the 60-day DL means that he'll now be sidelined through at least early June. Even if Flynn is fully recovered from the injury by mid-April, he'd still probably need at least a month to rebuild arm strength and improve his conditioning, so it's probably a prudent move for the Royals to delay a potential return until June while opening up a 40-man roster spot in the process.
Flynn fell through the roof of his barn and suffered a broken rib, among other injuries, Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star reports. The injury will cause Flynn to miss up to eight weeks, so he will be headed for the disabled list for the start of the season. The 26-year-old posted a 2.60 ERA across 55.1 innings last season with the Royals.
Flynn (1-1) lasted just 2.1 innings and gave up three runs on four hits and a walk in a loss Tuesday to Cleveland. Forced to make a spot start after spending all season in the bullpen, Flynn was going to be limited regardless, but the Royals were certainly hoping for more out of him. The major blow was a two-run first inning home run from Mike Napoli, despite that Flynn had allowed just two home runs in 13 relief appearances this year. If Flynn holds his rotation slot, his next start will come Monday against the Angels.
Flynn is listed as the Royals' starter for Tuesday's matchup with the Indians, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports. Tuesday's starter had been up in the air, but it looks as though the ball will be in the hands of Flynn, who was unavailable out of the bullpen Sunday, likely in preparation for the start. The left-hander has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen this season, registering a 2.39 ERA across 26.1 innings (13 appearances).
Flynn was recalled from Triple-A Omaha on Wednesday. Flynn has worked to a 3.04 ERA in the minors as both a starter and a reliever, but he figures to be deployed out of the bullpen with the big league club. The lefty had a brief stint in the majors earlier in the season, allowing four earned runs with a 6:4 K:BB over 7.1 innings. Omar Infante was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot in a corresponding move.