Two innings into Spring Training, the Royals had a regular (or semi-regular anyway) player go down with what could be a fairly major injury. Grounding out, Jarrod Dyson strained the dreaded oblique.
“At least a couple of weeks,” was the quote from Ned Yost.
“An average of 57 days,” tweeted Shaun Newkirk (@shauncore).
Two to eight weeks, depending on the grade of the strain, was the report from Will Carroll.
It ain’t good, boys and girls. No two ways around it.
Of course, better it happens two innings into Spring Training than two innings into the regular season. Under a best case scenario, Dyson misses a couple of weeks and still has a solid two weeks plus to get into form and garner some valuable time in right – assuming the plan was for him to actually play there. Fun question: does this injury make it more likely that Dyson plays center and Cain right when they are in the lineup at the same time?
Worst case scenario finds the Royals turning the calendar to May and still no Dyson. An eight week injury, plus minor league rehab time adds up in a hurry. Sure, maybe that is still something around 30 or 35 games missed, but a game in April actually is just as important as a game in September. The only real difference is the importance is just easier to see later in the year. I would rather the Royals head into the regular season with all their options available.
A Cain-Gordon-Dyson outfield is better defensively than any other combination of three the Royals can put on the field. For a team that preaches pitching (bullpen especially) and defense, one would much rather have at least the option to put your team’s best defense on the field from day one.
Now, the rosy view of this is that Dyson will be able to come back AND be ready by Opening Night (or very shortly thereafter). With perhaps the exception of getting him comfortable in rightfield, the Royals pretty much know what they have in Jarrod Dyson. There have been instances over the past three seasons where Dyson has been an everyday player. He is really not a mystery at this point.
Travis Snider, Jose Martinez, Brett Eibner, Rey Fuentes and, to a lesser extent, Paulo Orlando are all a bit of unknown quantities. For at least the next few weeks, each and everyone of them is going to get more time than Ned Yost had planned to give them less than eighteen hours ago. While not ideal, that’s not all bad.