It was another up-and-down week for the Kansas City Royals, with more pain than gain. Despite a series win to start the week in Chicago against the division-rival White Sox, the New York Yankees then came to town and swept a three-game set in Kansas City.
Let’s take a look at a few takeaways from this past week of Royals baseball.
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Unfortunately, the biggest story of the week has been injuries. It all began with 26-year-old shortstop Adalberto Mondesi tearing his ACL during a non-contact, routine pickoff play at first base on a chilly April evening in Chicago. Depending on the severity of the tear and subsequent rehab, Mondesi very well could be done for the season.
Bobby Witt Jr. was lucky to avoid a major injury during the series-opener against the Yankees when he was tackled from behind on a steal attempt, but he wasn’t as fortunate when a fastball hit his wrist on Saturday evening. He should be fine, but was out of the lineup for Sunday’s series finale.
Catcher Cam Gallagher left Sunday afternoon’s contest with a left hamstring strain and will be out for an indefinite period of time. He's currently on the 10-day Injured List. This will push Salvador Perez back into a larger role at catcher instead of splitting time between catcher and designated hitter as he had been doing early in the season. This also allowed for a roster move to be made, and it was announced that MJ Melendez will be the next man up.
MJ Melendez to Make MLB Debut
The injury to Gallagher will make way for Melendez to make the trip from Omaha to Kansas City. It’s unclear exactly when he will make his Major League debut, but the Royals could give him the opportunity to make his first start at home against the St. Louis Cardinals in the next few days if they want to give him a home debut.
Melendez has fantastic defensive upside but has been quiet at the plate so far in 2022 in Omaha. He belted 41 home runs in 2021, leading all minor-leaguers in that category. Melendez will give manager Mike Matheney the option to give Perez a designated hitter day here and there, even with Gallagher out for a while.
Bobby Witt Jr. is going streaking
Witt has a nine-game hitting streak going that is still intact despite the off-day on Sunday. The batting average still isn’t pretty, nor is the OBP, but he is above the Mendoza line now — which is better than what Whit Merrifield or Carlos Santana can say at the moment.
Hopefully, Witt can bounce back from the HBP that kept him out of Sunday’s finale against the Yankees and keep the streak going. Witt and Melendez came up through the minors together and maybe the camaraderie of the two can push each other to play at a higher level moving forward.
Daniel Lynch turnaround?
Daniel Lynch put in two good starts in the past week. Despite the Royals losing the finale to the Yankees, Lynch was in line for the win when he left the game with a 4-3 lead. Lynch threw six shutout innings against the White Sox in the series-opener and lead Kansas City to a 6-0 win in that game. If the Royals get to see the good Daniel Lynch for the rest of the season, this would give fans some hope for what was looking like a rough start to the season for that 2018 draft class of pitchers.
Up next for the Royals, they head to St. Louis on Monday to square off against the Cardinals before heading home to play two more games against them. After that, the club travels to Baltimore for a series against the Orioles.