Royals second baseman Omar Infante suffered from a nagging shoulder problem throughout the second half of 2014. The injury did not require surgery, but it appeared a cause of Infante’s disappointing offensive season.
He arrived at camp a few days ago, nearly a week before position players were due. Infante reported no lingering issues with his shoulder, but he did tell The Star he was dealing with some inflammation in his right elbow.
“I’ve got a little bit of a problem in my elbow,” Infante said on Saturday morning. “But I think I’ll be OK.”
Infante experienced soreness during throwing drills he conducted in Orlando, Fla., before he embarked for Arizona. He indicated he hoped he could start throwing again by Monday.
“I was feeling a little bit sore,” Infante said. “So I had to stop.”
The injury is minor. The concern about Infante is legitimate. He is in the second season of a slightly back-loaded four-year, $30.25 million contract. The team was willing to move in the offseason, but found no deal worth pursuing, according to people familiar with the situation.
Infante turned 33 in December. His .632 on-base plus slugging percentage in 2014 was his lowest since 2005. He did produce a career-best 66 RBI, but that appeared to be more of a function of his place high in the Royals batting order.
The Royals hope Infante can rebound this season. They also possess an insurance policy. Christian Colon earned a promotion to the majors last year and looks locked into a utility role on the current club. He can spell Infante often. The team felt confident in enough in Colon’s ability that they were willing to shop Infante in the winter.