Kansas City Royals second-baseman Omar Infante missed his second straight game Thursday night with a sore back. He is also expected to miss Friday’s game against Seattle.
Infante has been replaced in the lineup with utility infielder Danny Valencia the last two nights. This is not an optimal situation, since Valencia lacks range at 2nd and also has struggled against right handers (like the Royals have faced the last two nights) in his career. Valencia has hit only .228/.268/.358 for an anemic OPS of .626 against right-handed pitchers vs. an .873 OPS vs. lefties.
However, the Royals are not looking to call up a middle infielder (read Johnny Giavotella, who is hitting .352 at AAA Omaha).
“It’s just inflammation,” Infante said to KCRoyals.com reporter Dick Kaegel. “It’s happened to me before, last year. In a couple days, I think I’ll be better. Maybe I’ll be ready for Saturday.
In the same article, Royals manager Ned Yost told Kaegel, “We’re already looking at our options. We don’t think it’s going to be a DL thing. We know with where he’s at today, he’s not going to be available [Friday].
“We’ll just go from that point on. If he’s not any better [Friday], we’ll just shoot for Tuesday after the off-day and see if he’s going to be OK by then.”
Infante’s stiff back again points out the problems with the Royals odd roster construction of carrying two backup outfielders and no true middle infielder on the bench. The Royals could have used a stronger bat in the lineup Thursday night than Valencia when they were shut out by Mariner right-handed starter Hisashi Iwakuma.