A day after aggravating his bruised right hand, Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer forbid himself from swinging a bat Thursday. He had rushed himself into the lineup 24 hours earlier and paid the price.
Unable to generate strength in his hand, Hosmer was pulled from Wednesday’s eventual victory over the White Sox. He is unsure when he can rejoin his teammates. He irritated his hand while taking a check swing, and vowed not to play until he felt comfortable making that same motion without sapping the power from his hand.
“We’ve obviously learned our lesson from the last time, trying to be in (the lineup),” Hosmer said. “Now it’s got to be to where I can get it up to grip it at full strength, and grip it up to where I can make an adjustment midswing. I’ve got to make sure I can pass all those tests.”
Manager Ned Yost has characterized Hosmer as “day-to-day,” the catch-all phrase for an uncertain length of time. Yost explained the team could not prescribe Hosmer a pain-killing injection to reduce the inflammation. They would have to treat the bruise with heat and ice and hope for Hosmer to bounce back.
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“You can’t really inject it, because it’s so big,” Yost said. “It’s the size of a baseball. It’s not defined.”
With Hosmer out, Billy Butler handled first base Thursday for the third time this season. Yost filled the vacancy at designated hitter with slap-hitting outfielder Nori Aoki. Yost thought Aoki was a better matchup than 42-year-old veteran Raul Ibañez against hard-throwing right hander Corey Kluber. Ibañez is expected to start at designated hitter Friday.
And the Royals will keep waiting on Hosmer. He snapped a 16-game hitting streak with a pair of hitless at-bats Wednesday. He had been his team’s hottest hitter in July, but now he understands he cannot force his way back into action too early.
“We’ll definitely make sure the next time I’m in the lineup,” Hosmer said, “I’ll be in the lineup and not come out.”
Vargas nearing return
Jason Vargas plans to throw another bullpen session either Friday or Saturday as he approaches his return to live action from an appendectomy. Vargas hopes he can rejoin the rotation by the next turn through, which begins Tuesday with James Shields’ start against the Twins.
Vargas is still dealing with tightness when he throws. But he plans to throw “with no restrictions” in his next session, he said.
“It feels fine,” Vargas said. “It feels like it gets better every time. That’s the whole key.”
Vargas praised the work of Bruce Chen, who has held down his spot in the rotation. Chen has given up three runs in 10 1/3 innings in those two starts.
Paredes dealt for cash
The Royals shipped utility man Jimmy Paredes to Baltimore for cash considerations. Paredes hit .305 for Class AAA Omaha.