Danny Valencia tested his sprained left hand in batting practice Friday, and expects to start a rehabilitation stint as early as Sunday.
Valencia is eligible to rejoin the Royals from the 15-day disabled list Monday in Detroit. He expects to spend a few games with Class AA Northwest Arkansas in the interim.
Valencia never before required a stint on the disabled list. He initially injured his hand May 24 in Anaheim. After sitting out five games, he aggravated the injury.
“Nobody is 100 percent right now,” Valencia said. “As long as I feel like I can compete. Like in Toronto, I was hurt. It got to the point where I felt like I was going to give away at-bats if I kept staying out there.”
His injury accelerated the return from the minor leagues of Mike Moustakas. After an ugly start to his comeback, Moustakas showed signs of progress near the end of the last homestand. He homered Tuesday and supplied a two-hit game Wednesday.
Yost declined to reveal how he would split playing time between the two third basemen when Valencia comes back. But a platoon once again appears likely, with Valencia facing left-handers and Moustakas seeing the bulk of the playing time.
For now, Yost insisted he was only concerned about Valencia avoiding a “relapse” of injury, he said. “You don’t want it to fall back to where it did before.”
Valencia described the injury as “weird.” It occurred while he swung the bat against the Angels. He is still working his way back to full strength.
“I feel like I’m pretty close to being able to do almost everything,” he said. “I’m definitely not there yet. But I’m real close.”
Eiland on leave
Bullpen coach Doug Henry served as the team's pitching coach on Friday night. Dave Eiland was away from the team for a funeral service, general manager Dayton Moore said.
Chen starts in Fresno
The lengthy minor-league rehabilitation tour of Bruce Chen entered its third game Friday night. Chen took the mound for Class AAA Omaha in Fresno, Calif. He was expected to throw about 75 pitches.
Yost indicated the team was not sure if Chen would rejoin the club next week in Detroit.
“Keep trying to figure it out, because we haven’t figured it out yet,” Yost said. “We don’t have a solid plan in mind. We’ll see how he does today, and how he bounces back, and go from there.”
Chen is likely to take a spot in the Royals’ bullpen. Danny Duffy does not appear in danger of losing his spot in the rotation. But the team does need Chen to be stretched out in case of an injury to a starter.