Kansas City Royals right-handed pitcher Nate Karns lasted just five innings during Friday night’s loss against the Minnesota Twins, which after the game was revealed to be due to stiffness near the top of his forearm. He went on to allow just one earned run over his five innings of work, tossing just 72 pitches and earning a no decision.
It was the eighth start of the season for Karns, who owns a 2-2 record with a 4.26 ERA to open 2017. He is on pace to have the best strikeout season of his career, having totaled 51 strikeouts over his first 44.1 innings of work in his first year as a member of the Royals.
After appearing out of relief to begin the year, he has slotted into the team’s rotation and has worked at least five innings in seven of his eight starts. Prior to Friday’s outing, each of his last two starts had seen Karns strike out double-digit batters. He punched out a dozen batters in five innings against the Orioles on May 13.
Karns is yet to spend an entire major league season as a member of a team’s starting rotation, now on his fourth club in five seasons. He made 22 appearances (and 15 starts) as a member of the Seattle Mariners last year, going 6-2 with a 5.15 ERA, while recording his first save. In the offseason, he was traded to the Royals in exchange for outfielder Jarrod Dyson.
Kansas City has both Chris Young and Travis Wood on the active roster that are able to slot into the starting rotation should Karns be forced to miss a start, but the two have allowed a combined 31 earned runs in 32 innings in 2017.