On Wednesday night, Jarrod Dyson hopped up the center field fence for a shot at catching a Mike Trout homer and came back down gingerly, then limped off the field. After the game, it was categorized as a right ankle sprain.
The Royals haven’t provided an official update on Dyson’s condition, and with an off day between series, there were no pregame media sessions to talk with Ned Yost. The clues point towards a Dyson DL stint, though.*
First, Dyson’s best asset is his speed. If his ankle is hurt, he can’t utilize that weapon and it limits his ability to contribute. It makes sense to sit him for two weeks and let him fully recover, then come back at full strength than to try to manage the injury and either aggravate it, get subpar results or have him overcompensate and hurt something else.
Second, David Lough wasn’t in the lineup in tonight’s Triple A matchup between Omaha and Las Vegas. Then Minda Haas noted that he wasn’t even in the dugout and Lee Warren heard from Storm Chasers manager Mike Jirschele that Lough was out for a “potential call up“. Bob Dutton all but confirmed all of this later on Twitter.
Dyson was starting to take playing time from Jeff Francoeur and taking advantage of it. Ned Yost says they weren’t heading for a platoon between Dyson and Francoeur, but it was sure starting to look that way. Dyson was hitting .268/.286/.561 (!) in 42 plate appearances in 2013 and has matched Francoeur in extra base hits in a third of the at bats. The defense benefits with Dyson in the game, as Lorenzo Cain is a more favorable option than Francoeur in right, with a strong enough arm for the position but significantly better range.
Lough was hitting .340/.393/.477 in 171 plate appearances for Omaha. He spent all of last September up with the big league club, hitting .237/.292/.305 in 20 games. If he does come up (as expected) it’s not certain if the Royals will still split time as they had been, but Kansas City will face Oakland right-hander Jarrod Parker tomorrow. If Lough (a lefty) is in the lineup, that could be a signal that they’ll keep rolling with the not-platoon-that-is-basically-a-platoon.
*UPDATE: The Royals have now officially made the move, according to Bob Dutton.