Nursing a right hamstring issue, center fielder Lorenzo Cain was out of the lineup on Wednesday as the Royals concluded a nine-game road trip at Camden Yards.
“His legs are a little beat-up,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Yost said the lingering discomfort — which the club described as “cramping” — came into play during a moment in the fifth inning Tuesday night. Cain gave chase on a ball hit to the gap in left-center field. He came up short, pulling up just moments before he would have potentially crashed into the wall.
“That play last night when he had to go deep in left-center, right when he got there, it kind of cramped up on him a little bit right there,” Yost said Wednesday.
With Cain out of the lineup, Yost turned to Alex Gordon in center field. Melky Cabrera moved to left field following two games in right, while rookie Jorge Bonifacio returned to the lineup in right field.
Yost said Cain attempted to argue his way into the lineup on Wednesday afternoon, stating that his legs felt “good to go.”
“I’m not going to take any chances with his legs,” Yost said. “He goes hard every single day. And it’s been a long road trip.”
Cain, 31, has a history of leg ailments and injuries. The issue limited his playing time during his early seasons in Kansas City. In 2016, he missed 25 games in late June and July after sustaining a hamstring injury in an 8-4 home loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on June 28. He’s started 101 of 105 games in center field this season, batting .272 with a .340 on-base percentage and 12 homers.
“If his legs feel great, then we’ll go tomorrow,” Yost said. “If they don’t feel great, I’ll give him another day. I’d rather give him two days then two weeks or a month.”