SEPTEMBER 21: Cain likely will not return this year, manager Ned Yost said during an appearance on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link). Yost explained that Cain’s “wrist has been slow to heal,” with the team feeling there is “no sense trying to push it.”
SEPTEMBER 11,10:59am: Cain now seems to agree with the Royals that shutting him down for a week and then re-evaluating is the best course of action, tweets Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star.
8:24am: The Royals are reluctant to shut down Cain for the year, according to ESPN.com. A team spokesman said after Saturday’s game that Cain received a stem cell shot on his wrist that didn’t work, and the club will now wait a week to see if the injury heals before deciding his fate.
SATURDAY: Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain has been dealing with a sprained left hand, an injury that has made it difficult for him to swing a bat, since August. As a result, Cain is likely to shut himself down for the season, he told FOX Sports on Saturday (via Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com). Cain had been out of the Royals’ lineup since Aug. 30 until returning Friday, when he reached base four times, but he’s sitting Saturday. The 30-year-old offered a discouraging assessment of his health after Friday’s game.
“Every swing, it doesn’t feel good. I don’t know what to say,” stated Cain, who also revealed that he was playing through with a tear.
Injuries have been highly problematic this year for Cain, who missed nearly all of July with a hamstring strain. When on the field, Cain has once again been a key cog for Kansas City, though he – like his team – hasn’t been as effective as he was in either the Royals’ American League pennant-winning 2014 season or their World Series-winning 2015 campaign. In those two seasons, Cain combined to slash .304/.351/.447 with 21 home runs and 56 stolen bases across 1,106 plate appearances. His output at the plate, on the base paths and in the field led to a stellar 11.2 fWAR total – tied with Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo for fifth in the majors. Thanks largely to further defensive excellence, Cain’s at a still-solid 2.5 fWAR this year, but his .287/.339/.408 line through 434 PAs represents a step backward.
The Royals entered Saturday four games behind the AL’s second wild-card spot, and losing Cain should only further damage their slim playoff chances. They could face an offseason decision on whether to shop Cain, who’s due $11MM in 2017 – the final year of his contract – or take another run at a championship with a healthy roster full of core contributors on expiring contracts. In addition to Cain, first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas, left-hander Danny Duffy and closer Wade Davis are scheduled to hit free agency after next season.