With Lorenzo Cain making his annual pilgrimage to the disabled list, it was only natural to think that Jarrod Dyson would be getting the lion's share of time in center field.
Put those thoughts on hold. For at least the weekend.
Norichika Aoki is a possible replacement, sliding over from right. He's appeared in 21 games in center since coming to the big leagues, making 14 starts. He's totaled 129 defensive innings in center. The Royals used him there on occasion in spring training, so good for them in being proactive.
Justin Maxwell is another candidate. While the Royals have used him mostly as a right fielder (when he actually plays) he's logged most of his career innings in center field. He was a center fielder for most of his time in the minors. As a major leaguer, of the 1,800 defensive innings Maxwell has played, over half of them have been in center.
With Dyson to the bereavement list, the Royals also have the opportunity to call up a replacement. With just a three-man bench currently, may I be so bold as to suggest they call up a hitter? With the need for a left-handed bat off the bench, they could turn to Jimmy Paredes, who is already on the 40-man roster and is off to a .319/319/.447 start in Omaha. He has defensive versatility, playing both outfield corners along with some third and some second. Not that we would see him actually pinch hit, but with Brett Hayes and Danny Valencia the current bench players, call me crazy but adding a lefty to the mix - even in the short term - seems like a decent idea.
Still, it feels like there is some more roster shuffling planned for today. With Bruce Chen's start pushed back to Saturday with tightness in his glute, Danny Duffy dominant in his latest turn out of the bullpen, and the recall of Justin Marks, this roster is a little... Strange.
But as we all know from watching the Royals all these years, roster math is hard.