Amid drop in velocity, Yoshinobu Yamamoto exits early vs. Royals with triceps tightness

The noticeable drop in the velocity of his four-seam fastball in the first inning was the first sign that something wasn’t right with Dodgers right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto on Saturday night.

The flashing red lights then came in the bottom of the second inning, when reliever Michael Grove began warming in the Dodgers’ bullpen even though Yamamoto had given up only one hit in two scoreless innings against the Kansas City Royals.

Yamamoto, whose start was pushed back two days to give him extra rest after he threw a season-high 106 pitches while shutting out the New York Yankees on two hits through seven innings on June 7, was then pulled after two innings, the team announcing that he was experiencing triceps tightness.

Yamamoto, who entered the game with a 6-2 record and 3.00 ERA in 13 starts, threw 12 four-seam fastballs that were clocked between 92.9 mph and 95.9 mph and averaged 94.2 mph.

The 25-year-old Yamamoto, who signed a 12-year, $325-million contract with the Dodgers in December, threw 29 pitches that were clocked at 97 mph or higher in his previous start in Yankee Stadium, which he attributed to “my mechanics working very well.” He had thrown three pitches above 97 mph all season before that game.

“We tried to give him an extra day just to kind of get off that high and be able to reset back here at Dodger Stadium,” manager Dave Roberts said before Saturday night’s game, “but he feels good physically.”

If Yamamoto is placed on the 15-day injured list, he would be replaced in the rotation by right-hander Bobby Miller, who is scheduled to start Wednesday night’s game at Colorado after missing two months because of shoulder inflammation.

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