KC Royals' Michael Massey begins rehab assignment, adds to explosive Naturals lineup

Kansas City's 2B returns to game action Friday night.
Norm Hall/GettyImages

While KC Royals fans await Friday's first pitch against the Chicago White Sox, April 5 marks a momentous day for dozens of minor-league teams around the country. Today marks their Opening Day, the first game for teams from Double-A to Low-A. Michael Massey, the Royals' second baseman, returns to the diamond tonight for the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals, and his rehab assignment should be fun to watch.

The Royals officially assigned Massey to the Naturals Friday, according to Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter Paul Boyd. He started the 2024 season on the 10-day IL due to a lower back strain. The injury sidelined him for a handful of spring training games, but manager Matt Quatraro was clear Massey wasn't shut down, just restricted to simulated games.

Now, he plays alongside several promising Royals prospects such as third baseman Cayden Wallace and outfielder Gavin Cross. The Naturals have Massey batting third and playing second base tonight in Arvest Ballpark.

Back injuries can be fickle ones to overcome and Kansas City never laid out a solid timetable for Massey's return. The big-league roster has gotten by with Nick Loftin and Adam Frazier playing most of the innings at second in 2024. Still, Kansas City could use the 26-year-old from Hazelcrest, Illinois, sooner rather than later.

Michael Massey has a lot to prove this season with the KC Royals.

In his first full MLB season, Massey was another above-average fielder in Kansas City's infield. His 3 Outs Above Average don't jump out as much as Maikel Garcia's or Bobby Witt Jr.'s marks, but Massey still ranked in the 82nd percentile among all MLB players. This comes after years of defensive production in Kansas City's farm system, including a 2021 Minor League Rawlings Gold Glove.

Massey also had a brutal early-season slump at the plate in 2023, skewing many of his statistics. But, the adversity forced Massey into an uncomfortable position and he bounced back. Kansas City Star reporter Jaylon Thompson spoke to Massey ($) about responding to the struggles.

“Obviously, I’m going through this for a reason, and I could either get angry and frustrated and miss the entire point of it,” Massey said. “Or I can just say, ‘Hey, you know what, me getting angry isn’t going to change anything.’ I’ve done that in the past, and I’ve done that during this, too. But it’s just like, what can I learn from this? So I can not waste this experience.”

Arvest Ballpark is far from Kauffman Stadium, but hopefully, this is another experience Massey cannot waste. Tonight, his journey back to the show begins.

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