Kansas City Royals second baseman Omar Infante has been kept out of the lineup once again because of his shoulder. After he felt stiffness in his shoulder over the weekend, the Royals opted for caution on Saturday by leaving him out of the game.
Omar Infante expects he’ll need a couple more days for the inflammation in his right shoulder to go away. Felt it throwing on Thursday.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) March 1, 2014
It appears that the shoulder is still an issue four days later.
He still feels it a little bit. Normally in spring training, you try to get guys at-bats. His swing’s one that’s not going to need a whole bunch of at-bats to get going. We’re not too concerned about it.
Infante has been mostly healthy for the past three years, but he was considered injury-prone as recently as 2010. The Royals are wise to be cautious with him.
Though Omar Infante should return to the lineup in the next two days–and the Royals do not appear concerned about the immediate effects of his inflamed shoulder–the situation illuminates a problem that fans and critics have been scrutinizing since the club made clear its intentions to keep five outfielders on the 25-man roster. They have no utility player.
Without a proper middle-infielder to fill-in for an injured Alcides Escobar or Omar Infante, the team plans to use third-baseman Mike Moustakas as backup shortstop and, bravely, backup third-baseman Danny Valencia as their emergency second-baseman. Until Saturday, Valencia had never played an inning at second base. It appears that he will continue to fill in until Infante returns.
The situation is unique in baseball–an experiment. Fans speculated that in the event of a disabled list stint by Escobar or Infante, Ciriaco would be called up from AAA-Omaha. However, Infante’s shoulder is only a day-to-day injury, requiring him to remain on the 25-man, hence Valencia filling in.
For a team that prides itself on a defense that considerably helps its collection of league-average starters, this type of situation during the regular season could easily cost the team a win. The Royals will probably be in the wild cart hunt in September and do not have the luxury of costing themselves a single win.