Royals infielder Hunter Dozier is back at Kauffman Stadium for the first time since he made his major-league debut two season ago.
The Royals recalled their 2013 first-round pick on Monday when they placed first baseman Lucas Duda on the 10-day disabled list because of right foot plantar fasciitis. Dozier was immediately thrust into the lineup at first base for the first game of a series against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Duda, who hit .366 (15 for 41) in 12 games this month, has played through the injury since spring training. A cortisone shot in March helped alleviate the pain.
But manager Ned Yost said that as Duda stepped out of the batter’s box for the final time in Sunday’s game against the Indians in Cleveland, Duda felt a pop in his foot.
“He thought he stepped on the bat,” Yost said.
The recovery period could last more than 10 days.
For now, Cheslor Cuthbert, who’s struggled to find consistent at-bats in the lineup, will take the majority of the reps at first base in Duda’s absence. Dozier will primarily serve the Royals off the bench.
After trying him out at first base all spring, the Royals sent Dozier to log time in Omaha. He played in just 33 minor-league games last year, when he was limited by a series of injuries.
But Duda's injury forced the Royals' hand.
In 35 games with the Storm Chasers, Dozier hit .254 (30 for 118) with seven doubles, a homer, 11 RBIs and 18 runs scored.