Opinion

Royals’ ‘Great Balbino’ is cleared medically to join club at big-league spring training

The Royals’ Balbino Fuenmayor at Friday’s spring training workout in Surprise, Az.
The Royals’ Balbino Fuenmayor at Friday’s spring training workout in Surprise, Az. jsleezer@kcstar.com

The Great Balbino lives.

The Royals on Friday confirmed that first baseman Balbino Fuenmayor, a minor-league revelation in 2015, has received an invite to big-league camp after recovering from a knee injury that ended a breakout season prematurely.

Fuenmayor, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament last July, was in the Royals’ clubhouse on Friday morning, preparing to take part in spring training when full squad workouts begin on Tuesday.

Fuenmayor, 26, batted .358 with 17 homers and 28 doubles while playing 89 games between Class AAA Omaha and Class AA Northwest Arkansas in 2015. The performance signaled something of a career breakthrough for Fuenmayor, who spent the 2014 season with Les Capitales de Quebec, a member of the Canadian-American Association. The Royals picked him up last offseason, and he rewarded his new club by raking at Class AA Northwest Arkansas. He appeared in the Futures Game during the All-Star break and was promoted to Class AAA Omaha before suffering a torn ACL in July.

Tagged with the nickname, ‘The Great Balbino,” Fuenmayor was expected to earn an invite to big-league spring training before the knee injury put that in peril. According to club officials, Fuenmayor finished the rehab this offseason and was cleared medically, allowing him to join the club for the start of camp.

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