Carlos Hernández is back with the KC Royals. Here’s what he brings to the bullpen

A familiar face is returning to the Kansas City Royals bullpen. On Friday, the Royals reinstated right-handed reliever Carlos Hernández from the 15-day injured list.

Hernández, 27, missed significant time due to right shoulder impingement. He was sidelined in spring training and didn’t pitch in any Cactus League games.

The Royals exercised caution as Hernández dealt with the injury. He didn’t make the 2024 opening day roster and slowly ramped up to throwing again.

“You never expect anything like that to happen,” Hernández said via an interpreter. “Find out you can’t make the team and you are not healthy.”

Hernández made nine rehab appearances in Triple-A Omaha. He posted a 7.45 ERA while striking out 15 batters in 9 ⅔ innings.

The Royals will add Hernández to a revamped bullpen. In a corresponding move, KC designated reliever Tyler Duffey for assignment.

“It’s great again,” Hernández said of his return. “Back in a major league clubhouse and it looks like our chemistry is amazing and you can tell walking in here.”

The Royals have searched for a power arm to include in their bullpen. Last season, Hernández posted a 25.7% strikeout percentage. Additionally, his four-seam fastball topped out at 99.1 mph, per Baseball Savant.

Hernández was used in different situations. He posted a 5.27 ERA in 67 games and made four saves.

“Carlos was a big part of us last year and we saw him grow a lot in his development from early in the year,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “You know, in all likelihood, he would’ve been on the team out of the gate had he not been injured.

“He’s worked very hard to get himself back in shape and get here. So it’s a good time for us to bring him (back).”

Duffey appeared in nine games for the Royals. He allowed five earned runs in nine innings pitched this season.

The Royals promoted Duffey from Triple-A on April 22. In spring training, Duffey overcame a melanoma diagnosis and raised awareness for the condition.

Hernández is available in the Royals bullpen against the Tampa Bays. However, Quatraro didn’t specify what role he would occupy.

“I think it would be fair for Carlos to get a little bit of a softer landing out of the gate,” Quatraro said. “But sometimes, you can’t control that. So as long as he’s throwing strikes, he is going to be good.”

Hernández looks forward to his first appearance this season. While sidelined, he decided to focus on his arm health and refine his pitching arsenal.

Now, he is ready to contribute in helping the Royals win games.

“I’m extremely happy,” Hernández said. “They had a ton of positive results and you can see that from afar. As long as you are seeing that, it looks great.”