CLEVELAND — Third baseman Mike Moustakas dismissed concerns raised by his departure from Sunday’s 15-3 loss to the Indians for what the Royals termed “tightness in his left groin.”
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Moustakas’ take: “It’s fine. Nothing.”
Manager Ned Yost agreed Moustakas’ exit in the sixth inning had more to do with the Royals trailing 11-0 at the time than any new medical concerns.
All signs point to Moustakas playing Monday night when the Royals open a three-game series against Detroit at Kauffman Stadium.
It’s been a rough week for the Royals’ infield.
First baseman Eric Hosmer and shortstop Alcides Escobar missed all three weekend games against the Indians after suffering shoulder injuries in Thursday’s 5-4 loss at Detroit.
Escobar is recovering from a bruise and appears likely to play Monday night, but Hosmer’s status hinges on a medical reevaluation scheduled Monday to determine the extent of the slight tear in his right rotator cuff.
Club officials believe the tear is only a slight fraying and haven’t ruled out Hosmer from playing again this season.
“We’ll see (Monday),” Yost said. “If he can’t play, then he probably won’t (play again this season). It’s very slight. It’s not really a tear.”
Hosmer suffered the injury when he landed awkwardly while diving for a ground ball.
Escobar’s injury is to the front of his right shoulder and occurred when he made a diving attempt to catch a soft fly in short center. He tested his recovery in pre-game work Sunday and, barring an overnight setback, should be in Monday night’s lineup.
Jarrod Dyson reached 30 steals (in 35 attempts) by swiping second base in the third inning after a two-out walk. Escobar leads the club with 32. Those are career-highs for both players.
The last time the Royals had more than one player reach 30 steals was 1985, when Willie Wilson had 43 and Lonnie Smith had 40.
Abreu in clutch
Utilityman Tony Abreu’s RBI single in the seventh inning lacked the importance of his game-winning RBI single in Saturday’s victory but continued a trend for clutch hitting since his Aug. 6 promotion from Class AAA Omaha.
Abreu is now 12 for 17 with runners in scoring position and 10 for 13 with runners in scoring position and two outs. He has 15 RBIs overall in 20 games despite a .265 average and .271 on-base percentage.
The Detroit Tigers arrive Monday night at Kauffman Stadium with a magic number of one for winning the American League Central Division. They lead second-place Chicago by three games with three games remaining for each team.
The Tigers leaped past the White Sox last week, in part, by sweeping a four-game series from the Royals in Detroit. Here are the pitching matchups for the final series (all three games start at 7:10 p.m.):
Monday: left-hander Bruce Chen (11-13, 5.13 ERA) vs. Detroit right-hander Rick Porcello (9-12 and 4.68).
Tuesday: right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (4-3, 3.18) vs. Detroit right-hander Doug Fister (10-9 and 3.38).
Wednesday: right-hander Luis Mendoza (8-9 and 4.36) vs. Detroit right-hander Max Scherzer (16-7 and 3.82) or left-hander Drew Smyly (4-3 and 4.01).
The Royals will distribute early-bird schedule cards to fans attending all three games of the season’s final series, which opens Monday night against Detroit at Kauffman Stadium.
The schedule cards, which show dates but no times, also have the official 2012 team photo on the reverse side.
Royals Charities also will sell 50-50 raffle tickets at each game through the fourth inning. The winner gets one-half of that night’s revenue. The rest goes to Royals Charities.
It was 36 years ago Monday — Oct. 1, 1976 — that the Royals clinched their first division title when Oakland loses 2-0 to California. That leaves the Royals with a 31/2-game lead in the American League West Division with two games remaining.
It was the first of six division titles in 10 years for the Royals.