KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Cleveland Guardians are sending Triston McKenzie to the minors to work out his pitching problems.

The AL Central leaders optioned the right-hander to Triple-A Columbus on Sunday, two days after he went a season-low 2 1/3 innings in a 10-3 loss to the Royals. McKenzie hasn’t gone past the third inning in any of his last three starts.

McKenzie is 3-5 with a 5.11 ERA in 16 starts. He has given up 19 homers in 75 2/3 innings.

To take McKenzie’s spot, the team activated right-hander Gavin Williams from the 60-day injured list. Williams hasn’t pitched for Cleveland this season after he injured his elbow while throwing a weighted ball during a workout in spring training.

Williams had to build back his arm strength the past two months and made seven minor league appearances before the Guardians were comfortable bringing him up. He made 82 pitches in his last outing.

On Saturday, Chris Antonetti, the team’s president of baseball operations, said the club will continue to be patient with Williams, who likely will be on a pitch count for now.

A former first-round draft pick, the 24-year-old Williams went 3-5 with a 3.29 ERA in 16 starts as a rookie in 2023.

The Guardians could be looking to add another starter before the trade deadline. They signed veteran left-hander Matthew Cook to a one-year contract on Saturday, but he won’t be ready to join the rotation until August after having Tommy John surgery last year.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb