What good KC Royals injury news now means for Drew Waters, Nick Pratto

Hunter Renfroe's toe isn't broken after all.
Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
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Good news has been hard to come by lately for the KC Royals. They'd lost three games in a row and won only five of their last 15 going into Wednesday night's contest with the Yankees, and Brady Singer is struggling again.

But some recent bad news changed for the better Wednesday— after the club put Hunter Renfroe on the Injured List with a toe fracture Tuesday, it turns out the big toe off which he fouled a pair of pitches against New York Monday isn't broken at all. According to at least two reputable sources, MLB.com Royals beat writer Anne Rogers and Bally Sports Kansas City's Joel Goldberg, recent testing indicates Renfroe suffered a bone bruise; Goldberg reported that the outfielder's recovery period is "more likely 2-3 weeks instead of 6-8 weeks."

Whether Renfroe comes back hitting as well as he'd been just before the injury — after a widely-panned awful start to his first season as a Royal, Renfroe finally reached the Mendoza Line by hitting .315 with three homers and 11 RBI in his last 15 games preceding Monday's contest — remains to be seen. He'll return with a .200 average.

But how the latest Renfroe news impacts Drew Waters and Nick Pratto, the two players the club added to its big league roster in the wake of his injury, is more certain.

What will happen to Drew Waters and Nick Pratto?

Pratto's is the easiest outcome to predict. Far more likely than not is that the Royals added Pratto not to replace Renfroe, but to fill in while Adam Frazier is on the Bereavement List, a stay that by rule must last at least three days. Because Pratto is only an occasional outfielder, and not as defensively-versatile as Frazier, expect him to end up back at Triple-A Omaha before long. His only solid chance to stay in Kansas City is if the Royals give him a chance in left field and he hits so remarkably well in a short time that they decide he might be a better left fielder at the plate than MJ Melendez.

Chances are, though, that Pratto will soon rejoin the Storm Chasers.

Waters could be a different story altogether. Although he went 0-for-4 in the Royals' 10-1 Tuesday loss to New York, he was batting .277 with a .350 OBP and seven homers at Omaha when Kansas City made its Tuesday moves. He is, unlike Pratto, a "true" outfielder; if he wields a hot bat while Renfroe is out, the club might be tempted to keep him and give him significant time in left if Melendez's season-long slump continues.

And Waters, who's a switch hitter, could end up in a platoon with Renfroe, who bats exclusively from the right side.

Either arrangement would require another roster move, however, in order for Waters to stay.

Time will tell.

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