Outfielder Jarrod Dyson has already spoken to the Royals pitching staff.
In the unfortunate event one of them allows a booming home run, Dyson won’t be making any hopeless charges up the wall.
Last May in Anaheim, Angels outfielder Mike Trout crushed a home run to deep, deep center field off Kelvin Herrera. Dyson was in the outfield and, although he had no chance at catching the ball, climbed the outfield wall anyway.
Unfortunately, Dyson’s cleat gripped the padding at Angel Stadium as he tried to propel himself up the wall and he suffered a high-ankle sprain. That meant Mr. Zoombya had to sit out for a little more than a month.
So, yeah, he’s learned his lesson when an opponent puts a charge into the ball.
“Once it’s gone, it’s gone,” Dyson said to a chorus of laughs from reporters. “I promise you I told every pitcher on our staff probably, that the next time a ball gets hit like that, don’t even worry about me jumping near a fence or a wall. I said it ain’t happening unless I can rob it.”
Dyson then reflected on that injury.
“But that was a dumb mistake on my part, I really regret that, because I was swinging the bat really well at the time,” he said. “I feel like I let the team down when that happened, because we went into a little funk.”
In his last six starts before being placed on the DL, Dyson had hit .280 with three doubles, a triple, a home run and seven RBIs. That little funk after Dyson went on the DL was a stretch in which the Royals went 3-15. They went from three games above .500 to nine below, effectively ruining their playoff chances.
Dyson returned to the lineup on June 22, but his ankle wasn’t completely healed. While he wouldn’t pin his subsequent hitting woes on the injury, Dyson’s average dropped more than 25 points to .242.
But from Aug. 25 to the end of the season, Dyson hit .286 as the Royals made their postseason push.
“We weren’t satisfied last year,” Dyson said. “We know we finished on a good note, but we weren’t satisfied. We felt like we honestly let ourselves down. We honestly felt like we should have been in there as a team. But you have rough patches. We take the month of May away from us, I feel like we’re in there, no problem.
“But it’s just baseball, you go through ups and downs, but it’s how you bounce back from it. This year, we already know we had success last year with failure, so this year we’re just taking the good and bad and try and learn from it.”
The Royals acquired Norichika Aoki from the Brewers during the offseason, and he is expected to play right field this season. With Alex Gordon in left field and Lorenzo Cain in center, there may not be a starting job for Dyson.
Nevertheless, that’s what Dyson is shooting for. (“Hey, I’ve got to eat, too,” he quipped.)
But, he said, that’s secondary to simply helping the Royals make the playoffs.
“This year, I know everyone is expecting us to do well,” Dyson said. “We’re expecting us on paper, we’re going to get to the playoffs. That’s how we’re approaching this, we’re going straight to the playoffs and nobody is stopping it. Nobody in our division.
“It’s going to be a dogfight. I can tell you that. Everybody in our division, they are going to be ready. It was a dogfight last year and it’s going to be even more of a dogfight this year. And we plan on coming out on top.”