Chasers lose game, but loss of starter Eric Skoglund to injury could be more concerning

Omaha was supposed to be the final stop on Eric Skoglund’s track back to the majors.

Instead, it may be the place where the rehabilitating Kansas City starter’s return was derailed.

Skoglund, on the disabled list since May 26 with a UCL sprain, injured his right foot coming off the mound to field a bunt in the fourth inning of Omaha’s 6-3 loss to Las Vegas Thursday at Werner Park.

The 6-foot-7 left-hander, who falls to the third-base side at the end of his delivery, dropped awkwardly to the ground as he whipped the other way toward Matthew den Dekker’s bunt toward first.

Skoglund, making his fourth rehabilitation appearance overall but first in Omaha, had to be helped from the playing field and didn’t put weight on his foot. He was taken to the Chasers clubhouse on a golf cart.

“He’s going to get an MRI in the morning,” Chasers manager Brian Poldberg said. “They’re still not sure what it is. It’s his toe or in the foot area. They’re going to X-ray it. He was in pretty good pain out there.”

Skoglund wasn’t sharp before the injury. He surrendered homers to former Royals infielder Christian Colon and Bryce Brentz and a den Dekker double in between during a three-run second for the 51s.

Las Vegas built a 5-0 lead before Ramon Torres recorded Omaha’s first hit to lead off the fifth inning.

The Chasers rallied with three runs off Thursday’s winner, Drew Gagnon, and closed to 5-3 after loading the bases to start the sixth. Colon turned a double play to get the 51s out of trouble.

Patrick Kivlehan then launched a 464-foot blast off rehabbing Royals reliever Blaine Boyer, who was pitching for the second straight night, to cap the scoring. Four 51s batters finished with two hits each.

Kivlehan also singled in the ninth inning off Richard Lovelady, who had retired 19 batters in a row over four outings. The Omaha left-hander has allowed one earned run in his past 14 appearances.

“He’s been very nice for the last two to three months,” Poldberg said. “He’s been around the zone. All of his pitches have been working. He’s been aggressive. He’s a guy we like to keep towards the end of the game. If it’s close, he’s got a chance to be in there.”

The Chasers also got a strong relief outing from Josh Staumont, who replaced Skoglund earlier than expected. After surrendering two early hits, the righty struck out five of the last seven he faced.

Skoglund, who hasn’t pitched for the Royals since surrendering six runs in back-to-back starts in late May, took the loss Thursday, giving up four runs. His injured foot, though, was the bigger concern.

“We’ll have to wait to hear on that. It didn’t look good,” Poldberg said. “He was going to throw every fifth day for a while here to see where he was at. We’ll know more after the MRI and go from there.”

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