Hochevar was expected to miss at least the first two months of the season after a sprained ligament in his right elbow was revealed earlier this week.
The 30-year-old, who was first pick of the 2006 amateur draft, suffered the injury in Monday's loss to the White Sox, when he threw two scoreless innings in his first appearance of the spring.
Hochevar was competing for the fifth spot in the Royals' rotation after moving to the bullpen last season. He went 5-2 with a 1.92 ERA and two saves in 58 appearances last season, and is 43-61 with a 5.10 ERA in 190 games (128 starts) in his career. He also missed time with an elbow injury in 2010, but it did not require surgery.
He will make $5.21 million this year and will be eligible for free agency after the season. GALLERY: Top pitchers after Tommy John surgery