Royals left-hander Austin Cox has been diagnosed with a full ACL tear and partial MCL injury in his left knee, tweets Anne Rogers of MLB.com. While he’s going for a second opinion, the expectation is that he’ll require surgery.
Cox was injured last week in Toronto. Scrambling to cover first base on a grounder that had deflected to the right side of the infield, he twisted his knee when he lunged to try to find the base. The Royals immediately placed him on the 60-day injured list. While the club initially termed the injury as a knee sprain, the ACL tear is a more unfortunate diagnosis.
It’ll surely keep him out well into next season, potentially costing him more than half the year. The Royals could keep Cox on the 60-day IL during the season, but they’d have to carry him on the 40-man roster throughout the winter. It doesn’t seem out of the question they’ll non-tender the former fifth-round draftee to clear an offseason roster spot.
A Mercer product, Cox logged 35 2/3 big league innings as a rookie. He posted a 4.54 ERA, striking out a respectable 22.1% of batters faced but walking opponents at a lofty 11.4% clip. He had similar strikeout and walk marks in 47 1/3 innings at Triple-A Omaha, where he worked to a 3.61 ERA.
In other Royals news, backup catcher Freddy Fermin underwent surgery to address a fractured right middle finger, according to Rogers. He’s done for the season but is expected to be ready for Spring Training. Fermin solidified his spot on the roster with a solid showing in a part-time role. The 28-year-old backstop hit .281/.321/.461 across 235 plate appearances. He should go into 2024 with a hold on the #2 catching job behind Salvador Perez as a result.