Relegated to the bench earlier this month, Omar Infante may be unavailable when the playoffs begin due to an oblique strain he suffered on Friday night.
“It’s pretty serious,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Real sore today.”
Yost declined to give a timetable for Infante’s return. But an oblique strain often requires a month of rest before a player can resume baseball activity. Infante will undergo an MRI when the team returns to Kansas City next week.
Both middle infielders suffered injuries on Friday. Alcides Escobar sat out Saturday’s game due to a bruised left elbow that occurred when he was hit by a pitch in the 10th inning. An X-ray came back negative, but Escobar still experienced swelling and soreness on Saturday.
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Christian Colon started at shortstop on Saturday. Yost indicated he could sit Escobar on Sunday as an additional precaution. Given the two injuries, Yost said the club could all up an additional infielder. While top prospect Raul A. Mondesi is not on the 40-man roster, Orlando Calixte is.
With Infante down, Colon figures to occupy a spot on the playoff roster as a backup infielder. Infante lost his job after Alex Gordon returned from the disabled list earlier this month. Ben Zobrist will be the everyday second baseman.
Infante struggled at the plate all season, and posted a .552 on-base plus slugging percentage. The team appreciated his ability in the field, but Infante represented a liability at the plate.
Yet the injury occurred after the finest moment of Infante’s season. Coming off the bench on Thursday, Infante drove in a career-high seven runs against the Indians. Yost gave him another start on Friday. When he injured himself on a swing in the fifth inning, he may have ended his season.
“It’s going to be a while,” Yost said. “I don’t know. It’s an oblique. Those things (take) long.”