When Alex Rios left Monday’s game after being hit in the hand by a pitch, we were all expecting the worst. After all, Rios had just come off of an injury plagued 2014 season, and was looking like the player that he had been in previous years now that he was healthy. Initial reports indicated a bruised left hand, and would could all exhale. All that was left was a precautionary x-ray, and Rios would probably be back in a couple of days.
Unfortunately, the injury turned out to be much worse than originally thought. According to Andy McCullough, Rios has a fracture in his left hand and will be out indefinitely while it heals.
This is certainly a tough loss for the Kansas City Royals lineup. In a season filled with pleasant surprises, Alex Rios was certainly on that list. He has produced a .321/.345/.464 batting line, hitting a home run and stealing two bases in his first week with the Royals.
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The injury to Rios also comes at a truly bad time for the Kansas City Royals. That outfield, which had a lot of depth at the beginning of the season, is suddenly a lot thinner. Alex Gordon has been dealing with an injured wrist himself, and has already missed two games this year. Paulo Orlando and Jarrod Dyson appear to be solid fourth outfielder types, but are either ready for an every day job?
This could mean that, on those days when Gordon is in the lineup and the wrist is feeling good, the Royals will be trotting out their late inning defensive outfield to begin the game. An outfield of Gordon, Dyson and Cain will certainly be stellar defensively, and it will allow us to finally see what Dyson can do in a starting role.
Even with the theoretically improved defense, the loss of Alex Rios is still going to hurt. His performance had been impressive over the first week, and the Royals need his bat in the lineup. Dyson, for all of his speed and defensive capability, just is not close to that type of player. Orlando, while his triples hitting exploits have been sensational, is still 29 and just getting his first taste of the majors. Can he prove to be a starting caliber outfielder, despite his age and possible Quad-A reputation?
Hopefully, the Kansas City Royals will not be losing Alex Rios for an extended period of time. However, we will now, in all likelihood, see what Jarrod Dyson or Paulo Orlando can do as an every day player.