KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Royals right-hander Jakob Junis has been placed in the injured list four days before the coronavirus-delayed 2020 season opener Friday in Cleveland.
Junis was late reporting to the team’s summer camp after Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association finally reached an agreement on a 60-game season after testing positive for COVID-19.
He’s been cleared to return to baseball activity for more than a week, but Kansas City believes he’ll need more time to get into game shape.
“It’s unfortunate, but I need to take a step back and get caught up before I’ll be able to contribute the way I feel I’m capable to help this team,” Junis said in a statement from the team. “My start in camp after the quarantine period was delayed due to a positive COVID-19 test and while I’ve been cleared, I am not built up to be where I need to be to start the season.”
Junis made the decision in consultation with new manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred.
“It became clear that the best course of action would be for me to return to the I.L. and continue to throw and prepare to contribute when I’m ready,” Junis said.
Junis has been a staple in the Royals’ rotation for the last two and a half seasons, winning nine games each year and starting at least 30 games in 2018 and 2019.
During his big league career, Junis is 27-29 with a 4.69 ERA in 81 career appearances, including 77 starts.