Kansas City said Monday that Kyle Zimmer's Arizona Fall League campaign probably would be shut down after just three starts since the Royals' No. 2 prospect reaggravated his right shoulder over the weekend.
Zimmer logged just 4 2/3 regular-season innings in the Minors this year after suffering recurring shoulder injuries. He appeared to be back on track when he struck out 11 batters over five shutout innings last Monday, but he was pulled from Saturday's start for Peoria for precautionary reasons after one inning.
"He had some soreness in his shoulder, and rather than let him pitch through it, we just took him out of the game," Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo told MLB.com.
"More than likely, we're not going to push it any further this fall and just try to get this under control."
Zimmer, selected by the Royals fifth overall in the 2012 Draft, has been limited by ailments in each of his three years in pro ball. He needed surgery to remove bone chips in his throwing elbow in 2012 and he was shut down in 2013 with biceps tendinitis. He missed the start of the 2014 season because of a shoulder injury, and even when he returned to the mound in May, he only appeared in six Rookie-level games before the same injury sidelined him once more.
The team said Monday the extent of the injury is unclear.
"I think it's more disappointment in the sense that we know how hard Kyle's worked," Picollo said. "We don't have any images or anything like that right now. We think it's very similar to what he's been battling, and we've just got to keep working to figure it out."
Zimmer was 3-3 with a 2.04 ERA in nine starts between Class A Kane County and the Royals' Arizona-league affiliate in his rookie season in 2012, and he went 6-9 with a 4.32 mark in 22 appearances across two levels with Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Class A Advanced Wilmington in 2013.
This fall, he allowed three runs on three hits and two walks over 3 2/3 innings against Surprise in his AFL debut on Oct. 7 before spinning five innings of two-hit ball against Glendale on Oct. 14.
After his second start, Zimmer, who has been removed from the Javelinas roster, said he felt good and was looking forward to getting some work in to get back to the form he was in prior to the injury. But in his third outing Saturday, Javelinas manager Vance Wilson told MLB.com that Zimmer was tight and didn't look right, even though the Royals' top pitching prospect wanted to stay in the game.