Eric Hosmer could receive clearance to resume swinging on Monday.
Hosmer, the Royals injured first baseman, will undergo another X-ray to determine the status of his right hand. He suffered a stress fracture after being hit by a pitch from Jon Lester on July 20. The fracture went undiagnosed until July 31.
An X-ray taken before the team departed on this 10-day trip showed evidence of healing, but not enough for Hosmer to pick up a bat. He has been limited to conditioning drills in the interim.
Manager Ned Yost is unsure how Hosmer will be utilized upon his return. There will be few opportunities for him to appear in rehabilitation games. He will likely require at least two weeks of swinging exercises before he can even be cleared for live competition.
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In Hosmer’s absence, Billy Butler has flourished at first base. His fielding is not the same caliber. But the assignment in the field awakened his bat. He has posted an .893 OPS as a first baseman and a .646 OPS as a designated hitter.
Plus, the acquisition of Josh Willingham further crowded the lineup. Yost admitted there were no easy solutions for the dilemma. But first, of course, Hosmer must be cleared to play. The latest test comes Monday.