Royals

July 23, 2014

Eric Hosmer’s return date uncertain after leaving Royals-White Sox game with hand injury

Manager Ned Yost intended for Eric Hosmer to sit out Kansas City’s three-game series with the Chicago White Sox so the first baseman’s bruised right hand could have time to heal. But on Wednesday Hosmer insisted he could play. Yost acquiesced, only to watch the maneuver backfire.

Ned Yost warned against this specific scenario unfolding.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Royals’ manager explained that he did not intend to allow first baseman Eric Hosmer to play during this series against the Chicago White Sox due to lingering complications with his bruised right hand. Yost hoped an extra day of rest would allow the team to nip the problem in its bud.

But on Wednesday, Hosmer insisted he could play. Yost acquiesced, only to watch the maneuver backfire. Hosmer had to leave in the eighth inning of the 2-1 Royals victory because of a lack of strength in his hand. He had irritated the injury during a check-swing in his second at-bat, and after his third he informed Yost that he could not swing the bat with confidence.

“If it’s pain and tolerating pain, I’ve got a pretty high tolerance for that,” Hosmer said. “But when I go to grip more, it’s just giving out. That’s the thing. It’s not a matter of pain and going through it. It’s just not letting me do it.”

The setback leaves the organization unsure when its first baseman will be ready to return. Both Yost and Hosmer deemed his condition as “day-to-day,” a euphemism for uncertainty as Hosmer deals with the injury stemming from being hit by a Jon Lester fastball on Sunday.

“When you’re in this job, you’ve got to trust your player,” Yost said. “He felt good, and felt like he could go. He gave it his best shot.”

Billy Butler pinch-hit for Hosmer in the eighth inning. He will likely continue to replace him in the field this weekend against the Indians.

Yost will continue to listen to the opinions of his players. But he admitted the outcome of this decision smarted.

“Do I second-guess it? Eh, maybe a little bit,” Yost said. “But it is what it is. We just move forward. If you’re going to win a championship, guys have got to play hurt. And they know it.”

Hosmer does not have to look hard for an example. Alex Gordon is still dealing with pain related to his sprained right wrist. Yet Gordon went seven for 11 in this series.

But pain is not the issue for Hosmer. He simply cannot generate power in his swing.

Hosmer went zero for two. He drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. His next two at-bats ended with tepid groundouts. He snapped a 16-game hitting streak.

Hosmer is unsure when he will return. He figures to sit out on Thursday. He plans to be more cautious about talking his way into the lineup.

“We’ve got to think big picture, the long term,” Hosmer said. “If it means a couple days, or whatever it means, then we’ve just got to get it back.”

Infante snaps skid

With an eighth-inning single, second baseman Omar Infante snapped an zero-for-16 skid at the plate.

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4370 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/McCulloughStar.

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