Jorge Soler may have to wait a bit longer to make his Royals debut. Manager Ned Yost said the new outfielder is suffering from a strained oblique and will be shut down from baseball activities for the next 5-7 days. Soler suffered the injury in Sunday’s game, reaching for an outside pitch. Yost indicated that Soler is very likely to begin the year on the 10-day disabled list (shortened from 15 days with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement).
Soler has struggled all spring, hitting just .143 in 49 at-bats with 18 strikeouts. His defense has been pretty poor in camp, drawing criticism from fans. The 25-year old outfielder was acquired last winter from the Cubs for Wade Davis, a move that already put a target on Soler’s back. Soler suffered a grade 1 strain, a milder injury than the one that forced Jarrod Dyson to start last year on the disabled list for the Royals.
RE: Jorge Soler's oblique strain - average time on DL for outfielders is ~38 days (since 2012). pic.twitter.com/kfjH7hG2yy— Shaun Newkirk (@Shauncore) March 27, 2017
If Soler begins the year on the disabled list, Paulo Orlando will likely get the Opening Day assignment in right field. Yost suggested a Soler stint on the DL would open a roster spot for speedy pinch-runner Terrance Gore to make the club. Gore was a surprise to make the club in 2016, and was pivotal in helping to win an early April game against the Twins when he went from first to third on an errant pick-off attempt, then scored on a wild pitch to win the game.
Jorge Soler has hit .258/.328/.434 in 211 games with the Cubs over the last three seasons, but has spent a lot of time on the disabled list over that time. He missed two months last season with a hamstring injury.
The Royals knew Soler was a risk when they acquired him, with red flags for his injury risk, his defense, and his attitude. Hopefully Soler can get back on the field quickly and begin proving himself to Royals fans and justifying the Davis trade. But he is not getting his Royals career off to a good start.