Royals

Despite ‘bucking to play third,’ Moustakas opens series against Twins as Royals DH

Mike Moustakas, who reaggravated a knee injury Wednesday, was the designated hitter Thursday night instead of playing third base.
Mike Moustakas, who reaggravated a knee injury Wednesday, was the designated hitter Thursday night instead of playing third base. jsleezer@kcstar.com

Mike Moustakas tried to convince team officials otherwise, but the Royals’ third baseman did not get his way.

In the opener of a four-game series against the Twins at Kauffman Stadium, Moustakas was penciled in as the team’s designated hitter on Thursday, one day after he reaggravated a knee injury.

Rookie Ramon Torres got the defensive start in Moustakas’ place.

Moustakas tweaked his right knee in Wednesday’s win over the Tigers in Detroit and was pulled from the game in the seventh inning in favor of Torres. Cheslor Cuthbert, who’s been dealing with gall bladder problems, was unavailable as a defensive replacement.

“It’s not inflamed but it’s kind of acted up,” manager Ned Yost said of Cuthbert. “He’s vomiting a lot. He’s just very weak and doesn’t feel good.”

Since first sustaining the injury on Aug. 23, Moustakas has hit .263 (10 for 38) with 4 walks, 4 RBIs, 2 doubles and a home run — the one that tied Steve Balboni’s franchise record of 36. Moustakas missed starts in the series finale against the Rockies and the following game against the Indians. He was the DH in the final two games in Cleveland, and then again in a day game on Aug. 30.

The Royals have not seemed alarmed about the severity of Moustakas’ injury. Even Moustakas downplayed his discomfort after Wednesday’s game.

Yost said the injury is no worse than it was the first time around, so he sees no issue continuing to allow Moustakas to play through the pain.

But when Moustakas tried to make a case for starting at third base on Thursday, Yost took a step back.

“He’s playable or else he wouldn’t be in there,” Yost said. “He was bucking to play third base, so I don’t think it’s quite as bad as the first time that he did it. It’s sore but it’s something he can definitely play through.”

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