KC Royals skipper answers big Kyle Isbel question

Is Kansas City's center fielder ready to go yet?
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The KC Royals begin their important three-game series with American League Central rival Cleveland this evening. Unfortunately, they've known since Sunday, when he went on the 15-day Injured List, that a fractured foot has rendered key rotation member Michael Wacha unavailable to pitch against the first-place Guardians.

And whether Kyle Isbel, Kansas City's defensively-gifted center fielder, would be ready to start at Progressive Field tonight remained a big question as game time drew closer late Tuesday afternoon.

Isbel, you'll recall, was already suffering, albeit recovering, from the late-May facial injuries he incurred via his own foul ball when he was struck in the side of the face Sunday by Bobby Witt Jr.'s leg as he and Witt pursued a fly against San Diego at Kauffman Stadium. Isbel remained in center, but was replaced there by Garrett Hampson before the sixth inning began.

Fortunately, Monday's day off, the last break the Royals will have until June 17, gave Isbel time to rest up.

But is he ready to get back on the field?

Matt Quatraro provided favorable Kyle Isbel news before Tuesday's game

Included in second-year Kansas City manager Quatraro's remarks to the media Tuesday was news about Isbel. Per MLB.com Royals beat writer Anne Rogers, Quatraro's news was good — although he wasn't starting, Isbel could come off the bench.

That he appears ready to play if needed is good news for the Royals, who've benefitted from Isbel's elite defense since he broke into the majors in 2021. The club's regular center fielder since last season, he hasn't committed an error in over 100 chances this year.

His work at the plate is, of course, a different matter. He's slashing only .208/.258/.329 after batting .240 in 2023; on the brighter side, Isbel's four 2024 homers are only one less than he hit all of last year.

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