Appier has strained muscle

Updated: April 28, 2004, 1:14 AM ET
Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Royals pitcher Kevin Appier will be out four to six weeks with a strained muscle that could be related to his elbow surgery.

 Kevin Appier

Appier, the only right-hander in Kansas City's rotation, came out in the second inning against Minnesota on Friday night. He had surgery in the offseason for a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow.

He lasted only 15 pitches against the Twins before leaving with a strained muscle in his right forearm.

"The muscle he strained works in conjunction with the muscle-tendon area that was surgically repaired," trainer Nick Swartz said. "The same muscle action that's used in throwing, this muscle works in conjunction with it."

Appier, 36, was re-signed by the Royals last September after being released by Anaheim. A 15-year major league veteran, he has a 169-137 career record, ninth on the active wins list. He pitched for the Royals from 1989-99 and holds the club record with 1,456 strikeouts.

Appier was 0-1 in one start this year with a 13.50 ERA.

"It means we go backwards from where he was the other night with regard to where he is pitching-wise," Swartz said. "In the big picture, this will heal. It's a muscular strain, so these things do heal."

Manager Tony Pena said he was unsure who would replace Appier in the rotation, although left-hander Dennys Reyes is a possibility.

"It's very tough," Pena said. "Not only for him, but for everybody in this organization. Appier is one of those guys, he works so hard and he wants to do this so bad. He wants to show everybody in baseball that he still has some time left.

"Now we just have to wait. He was starting to throw the ball real well."

Also, first baseman Mike Sweeney was out of the starting lineup for the fifth straight game with a strained wrist. But Swartz said the wrist appeared to be much better and Sweeney could be back Wednesday.

"I would like to take my time," Pena said. "We don't want to go too fast. I can deal with one more day. But not 15 days."

Right fielder Juan Gonzalez also was held out of the lineup Tuesday night with the flu.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press