Royals starting pitcher Bruce Chen will likely be placed on the disabled list, manager Ned Yost told reporters (Andy McCullough) Thursday. Chen was slated to start Saturday against the AL Central-leading Tigers, but he's been dealing with a disc issue in his lower back that is causing pain and stiffness and couldn't get through a throwing session Thursday.
The Royals haven't made an official move or named a replacement starter for Saturday, but Danny Duffy is the likely candidate to fill the spot, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.
Chen, 36, is 1-2 with a 7.45 ERA and 3.70 WHIP through four starts this season. Last year he was 9-4 with a 3.27 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, though, so it's possible he'd been quite significantly affected by the injury.
Duffy, a 25-year-old left-hander, lost out on the final rotation job to phenom Yordano Ventura in spring training but has posted a 2.16 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in six relief appearances. He had a 1.85 ERA in five starts last season.