Wednesday night in Seattle, as he swiveled his hips to steal second base, Jarrod Dyson slipped in the infield of Safeco Field. He arrived safely, but felt a tweak in his left groin muscle. By the end of the game, he was limping.
The soreness has reduced in the last few days, but Dyson still felt the possibility of reinjury in the third inning of the Royals’ 6-1 loss Monday to the Houston Astros. Dyson chopped a groundball back to the mound and Astros rookie Lance McCullers. Dyson opted for a leisurely pace as he ran to first base.
“Right there, it’s all about being smart,” Dyson said. “You don’t have to hustle every play. I don’t take plays off. I hustle. If I can go, I’m getting down the line. But right there, you’ve got to be smart. Just because if it’s feeling good doesn’t mean it’s gone all the way.”
He is not the only Royals player nursing a minor scrape, bruise or strain. Eric Hosmer is sitting out this series to rest his strained left ring finger. Alcides Escobar missed Monday’s game with a cracked nail bed in his right index finger. Lorenzo Cain returned to the field on Tuesday after two days to rest his own hamstring strain.
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The caution from Dyson did not incite the ire of either manager Ned Yost or first-base coach Rusty Kuntz. But Dyson was criticized on the local television broadcast, which sparked a predictably outraged response from fans on social media.
Yost shrugged off the criticism of Dyson. He reminded that Dyson has been one of the team’s most useful hitters this month. Coming off the bench, Dyson was hitting .417 in June. He doubled on Monday night and walked twice.
“It’s all about confidence at the plate right now,” Dyson said. “I’m not playing regularly, so I have to do what I have to do to prepare myself.”
Dyson sat out Tuesday night’s game against Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel. Dyson has historically struggled against left-handed pitchers. So Salvador Perez shifted to the designated hitter and Cain reclaimed center field. With right-hander Vince Velasquez starting on Wednesday, Dyson will return to the lineup, Yost said.
Dyson believes that by Wednesday his worries about his groin will have passed, and he’ll be able to run with less caution. By then, the tempest about Dyson’s perceived lack of hustle probably will have passed.
“I’ve got one person to answer to, and that’s not Twitter,” Dyson said. “That’s my manager.”