Surgery likely to end Meche's season

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Royals right-hander Gil Meche will have surgery on his pitching shoulder that will probably end his season.

Meche, 31, has been on the disabled list since May 29 with what the club described as bursitis in the shoulder. Meche, the first upper-tier free agent the Royals signed, has battled injuries the past two seasons. He has one year left on a five-year, $55 million contract.

"I imagine it will be some type of cleanup in there with the scope," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "He still has irritation. It's not getting better. We're probably looking at scoping it somehow and getting him cleaned up and having him ready for next year."

Yost said, "I would imagine so" when asked if Meche would be out for the season.

"When they get in there they will have a better idea if they've just got to clean it up or if they have repair to do. They'll figure it out and then we'll have a better grasp on that. To his credit, they did everything they could do to avoid this. But if you've got problems in there that surgery is going to fix, you go fix it. Then you just move on."

Meche's first two seasons in Kansas City were good, which encouraged frugal ownership to be more active in the free agent market. His best year with the Royals was 2008 when he was a team-best 14-11 with a 3.98 ERA.

But he struggled in a rehab assignment at Triple-A Omaha on Monday, going just four innings and giving up seven runs and eight hits.

"He's still experiencing pain in his shoulder," Yost said.

The Royals also had positive news on the medical front. Right-hander Luke Hochevar, on the DL since June 16 because of a sprain of the right elbow, is almost ready to return.

"He's doing much better," Yost said. "There's nothing that's going to hold him back from getting back on the mound soon."