We knew that Nori Aoki had not been right for the past couple of days. After leaving in the second inning against the Detroit Tigers on June 17th after feeling pain in his left groin, Aoki missed a game before playing on June 19th. While he went 2-4 with a double and a run scored that day, Aoki just did not appear to be healthy. His speed, which is his biggest asset, just was not there. Aoki did not look right leaving the batter’s box, and just did not have the explosiveness that the Royals had been accustomed to on the basepaths.
Now, after his pinch hitting appearance last night, Aoki’s injury has gotten to the point where he is unable to play. According to Joel Goldberg, Aoki has been placed on the fifteen day disabled list. To take his place on the roster, the Royals have recalled Justin Maxwell.
#Royals place OF Nori Aoki on DL (groin) and select contract of Justin Maxwell from AAA Omaha
— Joel Goldberg (@goldbergkc) June 21, 2014
Now, Maxwell is back to see if he can provide a similar spark as he did last season after being acquired from the Houston Astros. Likely to be part of a platoon once again, Maxwell could provide the Royals with a bit of power either off the bench or against left handed pitching. Even though Maxwell is not going to be the long term answer to the Royals need for a power bat, he could perform as a decent stopgap.
As Nori Aoki had been losing playing time in recently, having him out of the lineup for the next few weeks is not likely to be as much of a hindrance to the Royals chances as one would have thought at the start of the season. Jarrod Dyson has been performing well, and now gets a chance to show what he could do on an almost every day basis. There is an opportunity here for Dyson; he just needs to seize it.
Losing Nori Aoki will hurt; however, the Royals may be fine without him. It may come down to whether or not Dyson can continue to play at this level.