11:24am: GM Dayton Moore says that the expectation is Rios will only miss three to six weeks of action, though it is too early to establish a precise timeline, McCullough reports (Twitter links). Dyson and Orlando will indeed share right field for the time being, Moore adds. The club may replace Rios on the roster with another pitcher.
10:50am: Royals outfielder Alex Rios fractured his left hand in yesterday’s action, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports on Twitter. It is a non-displaced fracture, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan tweets. There is no timetable for his return as of yet, though obviously a DL stint will be in order.
Rios’s injury comes as a fairly significant disappointment for a Kansas City club that is off to a 7-0 start. Rios, 34, has played a big role in that effort, slashing .321/.345/.464 in his first 29 plate appearances while contributing a home run and two stolen bases. Signed to a one-year, $11MM contract out of free agency, the veteran represents a significant portion of the team’s payroll.
Fortunately, the Royals do have a capable replacement on hand in Jarrod Dyson, a rangy outfielder and highly productive baserunner. Despite below-average batting lines and less than 300 plate appearances in each of the last two years, Dyson has racked up 5.6 fWAR and 4.4 rWAR over that span. Of course, the team has been able to maximize his value by limiting his exposure to left-handed pitching. Right-handed-hitting rookie Paulo Orlando is also on the active roster, and could share time with Dyson in right.
Given the internal options and the teams payroll restrictions, to say nothing of Rios’s still-uncertain timeline, a significant outside addition seems unlikely at this point. Of course, hand injuries can be trouble for hitters, so the progress of Rios will be something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.