When Eric Hosmer was initially placed on the disabled list due to his fractured right hand, it was expected that he would be sidelined for three to six weeks. Now, with the Royals sitting atop the American League Central, they may be closer to getting another piece back to their lineup, as Eric Hosmer is scheduled to have another X-ray taken of his right hand on Thursday.
At the time of his injury, Hosmer had been the Royals hottest hitter, posting a .366/.425/.535 batting line for the month of July. Those numbers are even more impressive given his struggles after being hit by Jon Lester‘s fastball, as Hosmer was only 1-12 before being place on the disabled list.
If everything looks right in the X-ray, and Eric Hosmer’s hand appears to have healed, then he will likely begin the first step to getting back into the Royals lineup. Since his hand mainly bothered him while swinging a bat, seeing how Hosmer feels while hitting off a tee or taking batting practice could go a long way towards when he comes back.
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When that return does happen, the Royals will likely find themselves with a few decisions to make with their lineup. Billy Butler, the Royals usual designated hitter, has been playing first and would likely slot back into his accustomed role. However, that leaves the question of what to do with Josh Willingham, who was just acquired two days ago. It may be that Willingham slides over as the Royals main right fielder; however, he only has 35 games of experience in the position, all of which came in 2009.
Even though Butler has performed well at first, the Royals could definitely use Eric Hosmer’s glove. Getting another Gold Glove caliber player back, on a team that is already the best in baseball when it comes to run prevention, will certainly help. Yet, that leaves the Royals with the unforeseen problem of having too many bats for not enough spots in the lineup. Two of Nori Aoki, Jarrod Dyson and Willingham will likely be left out of the lineup each day.
These are decisions that the Royals will need to make at some point, and possibly soon. If the X-rays come back and show that Eric Hosmer is healed up, he could be back in Kansas City sooner rather than later.