KC Royals lose Hunter Renfroe to left toe fracture Monday

What next?
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The KC Royals opened a four-game set against the New York Yankees in defeat, but their biggest loss may be one outside the win-loss column. Outfielder Hunter Renfroe exited the game following an abusive at-bat in the third inning, fouling two balls off his left foot in quick order against Yankees starter Carlos Rodón. The 12-pitch plate appearance ended with Renfroe striking out, unfortunately, but he was clearly hampered walking away from home plate.

The Royals announced later in Monday's contest that a left toe fracture caused Renfroe's early exit. It is a detrimental injury to the outfielder, hindering nearly every single baseball motion Renfroe needs to make as an outfielder.

Dairon Blanco shifted to right field in Renfroe's absence, while MJ Melendez entered the game in left field.

How will Hunter Renfroe's injury affect the KC Royals?

Renfroe's exit wouldn't have been an impactful one this time last month, but a month of baseball greatly changed his value in Kansas City. Renfroe has been hitting .306 with seven doubles, three home runs, and 13 RBI since May 12. He was riding a nine-game hitting streak entering Monday's contest, his longest hitting streak since his 11-game run in 2022.

Renfroe's powerful bat has been an asset in Kansas City's lineup, helping the lower half power the team to wins. The veteran anchored the lineup's cellar due to his underperformance at the plate, but he was a key cog in the Seattle Mariners series. Kansas City's 5-9 spots in the batting order provided a booming boost in the Mariners series, slashing .346/.407/.654 (18-for-52,1.061 OPS) with 16 runs, four doubles, four home runs, six walks, 18 RBI, two sacrifice bunts, two sacrifice flies, and two stolen bases. Renfroe had four RBI alone against the Mariners, hitting .400 in the three-game set.

Kansas City's response remains unknown, but a left toe fracture doesn't seem like something Renfroe should play through. An IL stint feels inevitable, with Drew Waters serving as Renfroe's best short-term replacement. While Waters may not supplant Renfroe entirely, the younger player deserves a promotion if the veteran is out for an extended period of time.

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