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Farnsworth Tweaks Hamstring, Trade Value Now Under Question

The right-handed reliever is the latest in a line of Royals trade chips whose health is under scrutiny.

Things continue to get worse for the Royals' most valuable trade pieces. 

Last Thursday, David DeJesus crashed into a wall and had season-ending surgery on his hand on Monday. Tuesday, manager Ned Yost announced that Gil Meche would go under the knife as well, the team prize of the 2006 free agency class finally opting for shoulder surgery after a rehab start in Omaha went amiss.

The latest Royal to join the infirmary is reliever Kyle Farnsworth. Facing backup catcher Drew Butera in the sixth inning, Farnsworth threw a fastball that missed the strike zone and the bespectacled righty immediately hunched over. Yost and Royals trainer Nick Kenney emerged from the dugout, and Farnsworth joined them on the way back in. 

During the Royals' post-game media session, Yost commented that Farnsworth felt stiffness in his hamstring and the move to pull him was precautionary. He continued by saying that he'd be ready to return to action for Wednesday's day game, but with the trade deadline looming, the skeptic in me thinks Yost's comments are simply posturing in an attempt to preserve whatever may be left of Farnsworth's trade value.

Health issues are nothing new for Farnsworth, as he missed nearly two months last season with a groin injury sustained June 24 in Houston.

This year, Farnsworth finally began to justify the hefty contract given to him by Dayton Moore in the winter of 2008, compiling a 2.34 ERA, his lowest mark since 2005. While no teams have reportedly expressed interest in acquiring Farnsworth before Saturday's trade deadline, a solid reliever is commonly a sought-after commodity for contending teams.

The lack of interest may be due to Farnsworth's expensive contract. He has about $1.5 million left in his deal, which, while not a back-breaking amount, could raise concerns. As Will McDonald notes, in a hypothetical trade, the Royals would either have to eat a portion of that amount or accept a lesser prospect than they would if they aren't willing to foot the bill.

There isn't much time for the Royals to reassure any suitors by proving that Farnsworth's exit was anything but precautionary, but if I'm Scott Podsednik, I'm staying indoors as long as I possibly can.