Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Kris Bubic needs Tommy John surgery, done for the season

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Kris Bubic is done for the year after suffering an injury to his ulnar collateral ligament, or UCL, and he will undergo Tommy John surgery.

Bubic was placed on the 15-day injured list on April 16 with what was described as a flexor strain in his left forearm. He said he felt soreness during his start the previous day in a loss to the Atlanta Braves.

Anne Rogers of MLB.com reported the news first, which was made official by the Royals shortly thereafter.

Royals manager Matt Quatraro said Bubic was “getting further diagnostics” on the injury to determine its extent, then the decision was made to go through with Tommy John surgery after the 25-year-old left sought out a second opinion.

Bubic struggled in that start against the Braves but had been steady to start this season. Through three starts, he had posted a 3.94 ERA with 16 strikeouts and just two walks through 16 innings pitched. This was considered to be something of a “prove-it” season for the former first-round pick, who entering this year had a 10-26 record and a 4.89 ERA, including going just 3-13 with a 5.58 ERA one season ago.

Kansas City hasn’t officially announced a decision yet on who will take Bubic’s place in its starting rotation going forward, although Taylor Clarke will act as an “opener” for Ryan Yarbrough to start Friday’s series opener against the Los Angeles Angels.

Royals pitching has struggled mightily this year, especially as of late. As a team, Kansas City ranks 14th our of 15 teams in the American League in ERA (5.46) and 14th in hits allowed (179). The Royals have also allowed double figures in runs in their last two games and in three of their last seven contests.

Friday’s series opener against the Angels in the first game of a 10-game month-ending road trip for the Royals.