Jorge Soler homered for a second time in five games Tuesday while continuing a rehab assignment for Class AAA Omaha. But Royals manager Ned Yost passed on offering a timetable for Soler’s potential debut this season in the majors.
Soler, a 25-year-old outfielder, finished 1 for 4 with a walk and a homer in a 7-5 victory over New Orleans. He’s batting .235 (4 for 17) with two homers and five strikeouts in five games.
Acquired in an offseason trade that sent closer Wade Davis to the Chicago Cubs, Soler was expected to be the Royals’ starter in right field before he sustained a Grade 1 oblique strain during the final week of spring training.
The Storm Chasers are off Wednesday before opening a home series against Oklahoma City on Thursday night. The Royals are off Thursday before beginning a 10-game home stand against the Minnesota Twins on Friday night. The club has a history of making roster moves following a day off.
The Royals, though, could also elect to give Soler more at-bats in the minors after he missed more than three weeks of time in late March and early April.
Moustakas debuts in leadoff spot
Third baseman Mike Moustakas made his first career start in the leadoff spot Tuesday as Yost tweaked the lineup again.
The Royals entered the day with the fewest runs (47) in baseball and a team batting average of .199. Moustakas was followed by center fielder Lorenzo Cain in the No. 2 spot, while first baseman Eric Hosmer moved up to No. 3.
“He’s been swinging well,” Yost said of Moustakas. “It’s that simple. We’re trying to find some offense atop the order. Moose and Cain have probably been our most consistent performers to now.”
The move was necessary, in part, because Yost opted to give Whit Merrifield a day off as a means to mix in Christian Colon at second base. Yost said he didn’t want Colon to get “stale” on the bench. Alex Gordon began the year in the leadoff spot, but he dropped down in the order after a sluggish start.
When Yost was asked if he envisioned Moustakas as a possible long-term answer in the leadoff spot, he offered a slight shrug.
“Maybe,” he said. “We’ll see what happens tonight. We’re just looking. He and Lorenzo have probably been our two most consistent producers early. We’re just waiting for everybody else to catch up.”
O’Hearn is hot in Omaha
First baseman Ryan O’Hearn, one of the organization’s top position prospects, is off to a strong start in Omaha, batting .338 with five homers.
O’Hearn extended his hitting streak to eight games on Tuesday while finishing 2 for 5. He has at least two hits in five straight games and is batting .441 (15 for 34) during the streak.