Erik Cordier promoted to Burlington

Billy Buckner's promotion to Wichita on Friday appears to have caused something of a ripple effect throughout the Royals' low minors. RC has learned that Erik Cordier today was promoted to Burlington, and he'll report to the club in the next couple of days.


Erik Cordier, a second-round draft pick by the Royals in 2004, missed the entire 2005 season after catching a spike in the turf during conditioning drills last June. His knee locked out on him, and although an initial MRI and a visit to Dr. Yokum in Los Angeles showed no serious damage, he later had a loose piece of bone removed from his knee by a doctor in Green Bay.

Despite missing an entire season, Cordier entered this year as one of the Royals' top pitching prospects, and thus far, he hasn't done anything to show he's unworthy of that label. Cordier was the opening day starter for Idaho Falls on June 20, and he opened eyes throughout baseball with what might have been the best start among any of the organization's pitchers this season.

In six innings pitched, Cordier completely dominated the Casper Rockies, striking out 11 batters while surrendering no runs or walks, and only two infield hits. Only one batter managed to get the ball out of the infield, hitting a harmless fly ball to left field, and 55 of Cordier's 69 pitches were thrown for strikes. He was working his fastball at 94-95 mph, and his change-up – which drew "ooohs and ahhhs" from the Idaho Falls crowd – was described as "unbelievably filthy." He struck out the Rockies' best hitter on three straight fastballs (registering 96, 96, and 97), and he touched 98 mph in the sixth inning.

On the season, Cordier is now 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA. In 16 innings pitched (over three starts), he's allowed 11 hits and three walks (0.88 WHIP) while striking out 19. RC looks forward to seeing how he fares in his first exposure to full-season ball.

Other whispers: We hear that Burlington's Matt Kniginyzky (7-3, 3.13 ERA) is the most likely candidate for promotion to High Desert to take Billy Buckner's place in the rotation. Nothing is confirmed yet, but it's our understanding that the Royals want Chris Nicoll (3-5, 2.74 ERA) – who appeared to be the next in line for promotion – to work on a few more things in Burlington.

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