Royals reliever Luke Hochevar has been shut down due to a sprained ligament in his pitching elbow and could miss the first two months of the Major League Baseball season, the Kansas City Star reported on Wednesday.
Hochevar, a converted starting pitcher, emerged as one of the best set-up relievers last season, posting a 1.92 earned run average over 70-1/3 innings, allowing 41 hits and striking out 82 batters.
The 30-year-old Hochevar will rest for two to three weeks before beginning a recovery program.
Royals manager Ned Yost was quoted in the report as saying that a return for the right-hander by the end of May was the "best-case scenario."
The Royals open the MLB season on March 31.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)