3 hot takes from a 'perfect' KC Royals weekend
Yes, it's only spring training and it's only the Cactus League, but the KC Royals gave their baseball-starved fans a lot to like this weekend. The club beat Texas 6-5 Friday and 10-5 Saturday before finishing up with an 8-7 victory over Seattle Sunday afternoon.
Going a perfect 3-0 out of the blocks is nice, Tyler Tolbert's superb and exciting Saturday thrilled those watching at Surprise Stadium and on TV, and Franmil Reyes' Sunday home run proves he still has the power the Royals want and need from him. (More on Reyes momentarily).
But while "perfect" accurately describes the club's weekend record, and the good outweighed the bad, there are things to seriously consider. Here are three.
The dreaded injury bug continues to sting KC Royals outfielders
Major injuries are nothing less than poison for any realistic hopes the Royals harbor of avoiding the dismal last-place, near-100-loss season they suffered last year. But less than two weeks into spring camp, the club is already losing players.
Drew Waters, a serious, if not the leading, candidate to replace recently-traded Michael A. Taylor in center field, suffered a left oblique strain a week ago and isn't a good bet to be be back for March 30's regular season opener against Minnesota.
Unfortunately, Waters isn't the only KC outfielder sidelined by injury. PerMLB.com KC beat writer Anne Rogers, Brewer Hicklen, clubber of 28 homers and stealer of 35 bases at Triple-A Omaha last season, is expected to miss eight weeks with a right elbow strain.
And early in Saturday's 10-5 victory over Texas, center fielder Diego Hernandez suffered a dislocated shoulder; the club announced he'll be out three to four months.
The injuries to Waters, Hicklen and Hernandez further complicate an already confusing outfield situation. Only MJ Melendez, to whom the Royals have all but handed left field, appears set; now, the club needs to decide who'll start the season in center (uninjured Kyle Isbel is the best bet), and losing Hicklen and Hernandez, possibilities to contend with Edward Olivares for right field and definite challengers for a bench spot, make manager Matt Quatraro's roster selection more difficult.
FIRST TAKE: Getting an Opening Day-ready outfield will be a chore for the Royals.