After sitting out the weekend with a sore intercostal muscle, Josh Willingham completed a successful round of hitting before the Royals’ Tuesday night game against the Texas Rangers.
“It doesn’t hurt,” Willingham said. “So that’s a good thing. It feels like stretching, something like that, if that makes sense. But it doesn’t hurt like it did the other day.”
He was not in the lineup. Manager Ned Yost opted to play Billy Butler at designated hitter. Willingham indicated he has not received any indication from Yost on how the playing time with be parceled out. The return of first baseman Eric Hosmer crowded the lineup.
Willingham has lived up to expectations since the team acquired him last month. He added an element of power the lineup lacked, while still practicing patience. In his first 15 games, he posted a .377 on-base percentage with two homers and four doubles. He could be an asset for the club -- when Yost deigns to use him.
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“If he wants me to start, I’ll start,” Willingham said. “If he doesn’t, I won’t.”