Regaining trust in his torn ACL is part of the rehabilitation, and the process for Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas involved passing a couple of big tests, one last year, another recently.
Last September, some four months after he tore his right ACL in a collision with left fielder Alex Gordon while pursuing a pop foul, Moustakas slipped and fell while taking grounders.
He took a quick inventory and felt…fine.
“I just got up and I was good to go,” Moustakas said. “It’s not going to tear again. If it’s not going to tear when I fall down, I’m good to go.”
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When it comes to lateral movement, Moustakas said, “I don’t even think about it.”
The second instance occurred earlier this week in spring training. Moustakas stood in against Jason Hammel and a pitch whizzed inside, grazing Moustakas’ jersey.
“Inside pitch that I had to extend my knee on, get out of the way,” Moustakas said. “It felt fine. It was good.”
The plan for Moustakas, who wasn’t in the lineup for Saturday’s Cactus League opener, is to appear in spring training games as a designated hitter every other day for eight days, said manager Ned Yost.
“Then we’ll look and see where he is,” Yost said. “He’s feeling good. He’s taking all his ground balls. It’s just smart to move him in slow a little bit, let him get some at-bats and go from there.”
Eventually Moustakas will grab some innings at third base. Cheslor Cuthbert, who took over the position when Moustakas was injured last year, started at third on Saturday.
Getting his timing back at the plate is Moustakas’ priority. That will come with seeing pitches.
“I have all spring to get that back down,” he said. “So I’m not too concerned about it…Other than that I feel good. I feel like we’re in a good spot.”