The K Zone

February 5, 2013

Lorenzo Cain is feeling much better now, thank you

Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain suffered through an injury-plagued 2012 season, but he worked hard to strengthen his legs during the offseason and says he's ready to go.

The K Zone

Andy McCullough blogs about the Royals and baseball

Lorenzo Cain heard a common question at the Royals FanFest last month.

“(The fans) are constantly asking me about my injuries. I tell them I’m fine, ready to go,” Cain said at FanFest. “They said they’re excited to see me out there in center field.”

Last year, Cain strained his groin early in the season, then tore his left hip flexor while on a rehabilitation assignment.

Not surprisingly, he targeted his offseason workouts.

“I’m feeling great,” Cain said. “I’ve definitely been working hard this offseason, definitely harder than I’ve ever worked. Particularly leg exercises. I’m feeling 10 times better this year. I’ve just got to continue to work, keep my leg strength up throughout the season, I feel like I’m definitely stronger in that area, so I’m ready to go, ready to get this thing started.”

In 2009, Cain played in just 60 minor-league games because of hamstring and knee injuries. The next year, he played well enough to get called up by the Brewers in July. He was traded after the season as part of the Zack Greinke deal.

At Class AAA Omaha in 2011, Cain hit .312/.380/.497 with 16 home runs and 81 RBIs in 128 games.

Then came last year’s troubles.

“I’ve had injuries, but nothing like last year,” Cain said. “Last year was a crazy year for me. It was tear this, tear that, hamstring this. It was definitely different from previous years.”

While Cain, 26, eventually returned to the team, he wasn’t himself. He batted .266/.316/.419 in 66 games. However, his Ultimate Zone Rating in center field was 6.5, which was the second best among AL Central center fielders who played a minimum of 400 innings. The top player, Denard Span of the Twins, is now with the Washington Nationals.

And that wasn’t Cain at his best.

“I was battling big-time,” Cain said. “I wasn’t close to 100 percent, but at the same time, I was able to go out there and help my team win ballgames, so that’s the most important thing. But I’m feeling great now, 100 percent now. (The fans) should see a more improved Lorenzo Cain from the midseason last year.”

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