Outfielder Jorge Soler appears headed for the 10-day disabled list as the Royals prepare to set their roster in advance of opening day Monday. The club, however, will not make a formal move before it must.
Soler, 25, sustained a grade 1 oblique strain in a minor-league game on Sunday afternoon. He will be shut down until he is pain free, Royals manager Ned Yost said Tuesday, a period that is expected to be five to seven days.
Yost, however, declined to confirm that Soler will begin the season on the disabled list, which has decreased from the traditional 15 days to 10 following a new collective-bargaining agreement in the offseason.
With the season still six days away, the Royals are under no pressure to put Soler on the disabled list. Under the rules of the new collective-bargaining agreement, they can also backdate the disabled-list stint to March 30, which would allow Soler to return to the 25-man roster April 9.
The Royals have not given a timetable for Soler’s recovery. But the rehab would figure to last much longer than 10 days. If Soler re-starts baseball activities next week, he would still require close to two weeks of rehab. He would also likely need at-bats in a rehab assignment, either in extended spring training or with a minor-league affiliate.
Last year, outfielder Jarrod Dyson suffered a grade 2 oblique strain in a Cactus League game on March 2. He did not make his season debut until nearly six weeks later on April 19.
Soler’s grade 1 strain is a milder version of the injury, and the recovery process could be shorter. He also has a history of oblique and other muscle strains, which could prompt the Royals to take a cautious approach.
Soler is entering his first season with the Royals after being acquired from the Chicago Cubs in an offseason trade for closer Wade Davis. He was poised to begin the season as the club’s starting right fielder. Paulo Orlando is now positioned to take most of that playing time. Orlando, 31, batted .302 with a .329 on-base percentage and five homers in 484 plate appearances last season.