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Royals pitcher Yarbrough starting for KC for 1st time since being struck by line drive in face

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Kansas City Royals

May 7, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Ryan Yarbrough (48) pitches during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals pitcher Ryan Yarbrough is returning to the mound Sunday to start against Cleveland in his first major league game since the left-hander was hit in the face with a line drive two months ago.

Yarbrough was activated from the 60-day injured list before the series finale, the team’s last game before the All-Star break.

The 31-year-old Yarbrough suffered multiple fractures around his eye when he was hit with a 106.2 mph smash by Oakland’s Ryan Noda on May 7. The ball ricocheted off Yarbrough to Royals All-Star catcher Salvador Perez, who threw Noda out at first.

Yarbrough was hospitalized following the scary incident. He made his final rehab start on Tuesday for Triple-A Omaha.

Royals manager Matt Quatraro is thrilled that Yarbrough was able to overcome the experience.

“It’s jarring and then he’s the one who has to go through the recovery process,” he said. “It’s something that you can’t take for granted. It’s nice for us to see him back and be himself so that we have the comfort of knowing that he feels good about being out there.”

Yarbrough signed a 1-year deal with Kansas City in December after spending five seasons with Tampa Bay.

In other moves, the Royals recalled infielder/outfielder Samad Taylor from Triple-A Omaha and placed outfielder Edward Olivares on the 10-day injured list with an oblique strain. Quatraro called Olivares’ injury “extremely mild” and said the move was made more so Kansas City wasn’t short for the series finale.

Also, Kansas City designated reliever Amir Garrett for assignment.