Everyone should have reported to camp by now and the Royals will get to see just how well everyone took care of themselves in the off-season. Here is your Royals injury report as we begin the first full workouts tomorrow.
Omar Infante has pretty much been hurt ever since he joined the Royals, and his play has suffered for it. While it is unclear why he waited until last November to finally get surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, he says he feels much better now.
"I could have played with [the spur] again, but I can do way better now," Infante said. "It is much better." In fact, Infante said he has been able to do something he hasn't in years -- upper body weightlifting.
"For three years, I really couldn't do much because of my elbow and then my shoulder," Infante said. "But now this [surgery] helped a lot." Indeed, Infante appears to have added muscle in his chest and shoulders.
"Oh, yeah, because I feel much better," Infante said. "I've done more weightlifting. I feel more powerful. I feel like I'll have more power this year. My legs feel good. My upper body is better."
Infante is expected to compete for the starting second base job with Christian Colon.
The club expects Jason Vargas to be out most, if not all of the season after his tore his UCL last July and underwent Tommy John surgery. The timetable on the surgery typically keeps a player out 12-14 months, putting Vargas back on the field at August at the earliest.
"Everything is kind of going in the right direction," Vargas said. "It’s kind of a slow process, but we haven’t had any issues where we’ve had to slow things down."
The Royals are insured for up to $6 million his $8.5 million salary if he should miss the season.
To make up for the loss of Vargas, the Royals signed pitcher Mike Minor as starting pitching depth. However, Minor is recovering from surgery on his torn labrum from last spring, and is expected to miss the first two months.
Minor, who had surgery last May, has already begun his rehab throwing program. After Friday’s workout, Minor said he was already throwing long toss up to 120 feet.
"I don’t really want to put a timetable on anything," Minor said of his recovery. "And they haven’t really told me anything besides one day at a time, one week at a time, to see what we’re looking at."
Like Vargas, reliever Tim Collins had Tommy John surgery, causing him to miss the entire 2015 season. Collins injured his UCL in spring training a year ago, so he should be ready to return near the start of the regular season, although likely not by Opening Night.
"My approach through the whole rehab process was to come into spring training to make a team," Collins said. "Realistically, a rehab assignment is probably what’s going to happen. But obviously, I’d try to come into spring training and try to prevent that."
He could be competing for a left-handed relief role with Brian Flynn, the former Marlins pitcher who also missed all of last season with a lat injury. If both are healthy, it could cause a roster crunch for the Royals.
Yost said last week that he will not require a left-hander in the bullpen; he views the presence of a lefty as a "luxury." In addition, left-handed starter Duffy could find himself pitching in the relief if he does not earn a job as a starter. But if the Royals want another left-hander, and Collins’ rehab stretches into early April, Flynn could offer the most upside as a power lefty in the pen.
"In the instructional league, my velocity was back to where it was before," Flynn said. "Every thing felt good."
Last year's minor league success story was cut short when first baseman Balbino Fuenmayor tore his ACL. The knee injury was severe enough that he was thought to miss the first half of 2016, but his recovery has gone much better than expected and is ready for the start of the year. The Royals even gave him an invite to the Major League camp as a non-roster player.
"It feels great," Fuenmayor said. "I'm so happy. I'm 100 percent. I want to have a great camp."
Royals oft-injured to pitching prospect Kyle Zimmer is in camp and feeling strong.
And your first Kyle Zimmer update: He says he feels 100 percent, hoping to crack #Royals roster sometime this summer. Dayton hoping, too.— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) February 19, 2016
Zimmer has been plagued with injuries in his career, from tendinitis to shoulder surgery in 2014. He has thrown just 216 minor league innings since being the fifth-overall pick in 2012.