The Royals have a week to decide on a possible roster move to create room for outfielder Jorge Soler, who is on a rehab assignment at Class AAA Omaha. It appears they could utilize all of that time.
Soler, who is recovering from a strained oblique muscle, finished 2 for 5 on Wednesday in a 6-4 loss to Memphis in Omaha. He is now batting .343 (12 for 35) with three homers in 10 games for the Storm Chasers. He has nine hits in his last 22 at-bats.
Soler, 25, can remain on his rehab assignment until May 10; position players are allowed a 20-day rehab stint after a trip to the disabled list. After that, the Royals would be forced to clear space on their 25-man roster in order to activate him.
The natural move could be sending outfielder Jorge Bonifacio back to Omaha, where he could play every day. Yet Bonifacio, 23, entered Wednesday batting .300 (9 for 34) with two homers in nine major-league games. His presence has offered a small spark to an offense looking for run production. It’s possible, Royals manager Ned Yost said, that the club could find a way to keep both corner outfielders in the fold. The roster math could make the next week an important one for Bonifacio.
“It just depends,” Yost said. “If Boni continues to swing the bat the way that he is … we’ll see. We got a week to figure it out.”
Soler and Bonifacio profile as similar players. Both are right-handed hitters who offer most of their value with the bat. Both are most comfortable in a corner outfield spot. Both come with defensive question marks. The Royals, however, could find a way to give both players at-bats, using a more strict platoon at the designated hitter spot.
Designated hitter Brandon Moss, a left-handed hitter, is batting .159 with a .250 on-base percentage and four homers in 18 games.
The club began discussing options on Wednesday, Yost said. For now, the Royals continue to carry eight pitchers on their 25-man roster. The team could create room by sending a reliever to Omaha and carry a larger bench. But the deeper bullpen could be necessary as the Royals continue a stretch of 17 days without a scheduled off day. For now, the decision will likely wait until next week.
“It just depends where we are in a week from now,” Yost said.