Prior to Thursday night, the Omar Infante had not played for the Kansas City Royals for eight days. The now deposed starting second baseman had plenty of time on the bench to rest up, as Ben Zobrist had usurped his place in the lineup. Then, given the chance to play on Thursday, he responded with a career day, driving in seven and finishing a triple short of the cycle. This was the Infante the Royals had hoped for.
Well, the positivity around Infante lasted for less than 24 hours. Back in the lineup the next day, Infante was 0-2 before leaving in the fifth inning. As we later discovered, Infante left due to a left oblique strain, and is now likely to miss the rest of the regular season. Even then, he is not expected to be ready for the postseason run.
This news just caps off what has been a disappointing year for Infante. He has struggled with injuries all season, as he stated the bone spur in his elbow would require surgery at the end of the year. His overall .220/.234/.318 batting line was trying a disappointment, especially as it was hoped that Infante would solidify second base when he was signed.
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Yet, this injury could end up being a positive for both Omar Infante and the Kansas City Royals. If he is shelved through the postseason as well, then Infante may be able to get that surgery to remove the bone spur earlier than expected. By doing so, Infante could be ready to go earlier than expected, and may well enter Spring Training at full strength for the first time since signing with the Royals.
This oblique strain is still a reason for concern, and for more than the fact that Infante may not play until 2016. It follows a pattern of injury for the soon to be 34 year old infielder, where he has missed time with several nagging ailments and fluke injuries. Can he make it through a season without missing time at this point in his career?
Even if Infante’s time as a starter for the Royals was running out, he still could have become a solid bench piece for the team. Yes, Ned Yost does not use his bench that often, but having a truly versatile player like Infante that could play anywhere on the infield would likely give the Royals an element they did not have. Now, it may be fair to wonder if Infante can even be that.
Omar Infante is likely out for the rest of the year. One has to wonder what this means for his future on the Kansas City Royals.