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Royals elevate minor league pitching phenom McMillon to the big leagues

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Royals minor-league right hander John McMillon has been elevated from Double-A Northwest Arkansas to the major leagues, displaying improvement with each promotion. McMillon, aged 25, began the season with Single-A Columbia, amassing 21 strikeouts over 10 2/3 innings with a potent 75-grade fastball. Progressing through High-A and achieving a standout performance in Northwest Arkansas, he maintained an exceptional 0.87 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings, earning his promotion.

McMillon boasts a remarkable 45.3% strikeout rate across three levels, the highest among Minor League pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched. Royals manager Matt Quatraro commended McMillon’s impressive fastball and the development of his slider, expressing anticipation for his contributions.

Concurrently, RHP Nick Wittgren has been optioned to Triple-A Omaha. Wittgren, carrying a 4.97 ERA this season, opted for free agency following the Royals’ loss to the Mariners. This transaction leaves the Kansas City roster at 39 players. Quatraro acknowledged Wittgren’s valuable role in the bullpen, highlighting his versatility and leadership on and off the field.

In injury updates, RHP Brad Keller, grappling with a right shoulder impingement, is undergoing rehabilitation. After an initial rehab assignment in Triple-A Omaha on June 28, Keller encountered a setback with shoulder discomfort symptoms, resulting in his return to the IL. Following a recent rehab appearance with the Royals’ Arizona Complete League, he has been shifted to the 60-day injured list. Keller has been sidelined since May 15, and his anticipated return remains undetermined.