The Kansas City Royals have risen to the top of the American League Central in recent weeks and have set themselves up to finally meet the high expectations set for them in recent seasons. They have done so largely without the help of one of the best-known young players in Eric Hosmer.
When Hosmer arrived in the big leagues, he did so to the fanfare of one of the top prospects in all of baseball. Unfortunately he has never been able to consistently produce like the guy he was touted to be.
“You get one shot at this,” Yost said. “We bring him back too early, and that (fracture) opens up again, he’s done for the year. So you make sure that it’s in a good spot. And then you start cranking him up again.”
Minor league seasons end soon, which means that the Royals likely will not be able to send Hosmer on a traditional rehab assignment. On top of that, there is the issue of playing time with the newly added Josh Willingham. From McCullough:
Plus, there is the matter of playing time. Handling first base has invigorated Billy Butler, who had slumped all season as the designated hitter. And Josh Willingham has been a quality replacement at DH.
When the Royals added Willingham, they did so in the context of needing another thumper in the outfield. The absence of Hosmer has allowed them to play Butler at first and Willingham at DH, but they do have a way to play all three comfortably upon Hosmer’s return once he is ready to go. Still, plenty of questions for a team that is on the national radar as the playoff race heats up.