On the eve of Opening Day, the Royals announced they will be without their starting shortstop, placing Adalberto Mondesi on the 10-day Injured List with a right oblique strain. Nicky Lopez was recalled to replace him on the roster.
Mondesi got off to an awful start in 2020, but opened some eyes with his play down the stretch as one of the hottest hitters in baseball. He hit .376/.424/.706 with six home runs over his last 22 games, showing off the power/speed combo that has tantalized coaches and fans for years.
The 25-year old has a history of injuries in his career, having never played more than 102 games in a Major League season, and not more than 110 in any professional season since 2013. Mondesi dealt with a foot injury at the beginning of spring training this year, but recovered to hit .303 with two home runs in 14 exhibition games, including Monday’s finale against Cleveland. He missed time with a shoulder injury in 2019, requiring surgery after the season. Mondesi had been reportedly in discussions with the club for a long-term deal.
Lopez returns to the club after being demoted earlier this week. He lost his second base starting job to Whit Merrifield, who will be moving back from the outfield. Lopez was a Gold Glove finalist in 2020 at second base, but has hit just .228/.279/.307 in 159 games the past two seasons combined. He has played 37 games at shortstop in his career. The Royals also have veteran Hanser Alberto, who was added to the roster this week, and has played 22 games at shorstop in his big league career.