Mike Moustakas Knee Injury Could Sink Royals’ Title Hopes
The Kansas City Royals’ plight to repeat as MLB champions could have just gotten a lot more difficult. Per reports, star third baseman Mike Moustakas is dealing with a tear in his right ACL and has immediately been placed on the team’s 15-day Disabled List.
— Royals Report (@royals_fanly) May 26, 2016
Moustakas first initially suffered what was reported to be a knee contusion after a collision with teammate Alex Gordon last Sunday, and hasn’t been able to play since. Gordon also sustained a wrist injury when the two players collided, but it is now feared that Moustakas’ knee injury could be the more serious ailment.
Moustakas looked to be on the comeback trail as recently as May 25th and began taking part in batting practice, but complained to team staff of discomfort and an inability to move laterally.
It’s still unclear just how severe the tear is for Moustakas, but for now the Royals have moved him to a short-term list until they can take a closer look at the knee and make a long-term decision.
Even if an MRI shows that Moustakas doesn’t have a complete tear, any kind of ligament damage would keep the third baseman shelved for a good portion of the season. A full ACL tear and possibly even a partial tear could also easily put an end to his 2016 run.
It’s a huge blow to Kanas City’s offense, as Moustakas offers some serious pop offensively. The 27-year old masher already chipped in seven home runs on the year and was providing a respectable .240 batting average.
For now, the Royals are expected to turn to Brett Eibner, who the team called up from Triple-A Omaha after placing Moustakas on the 15-day list. It is unclear if Eibner will be looked at as the long-term solution to cover for Moustakas if he’s ruled out for the rest of the year, but he figures to start in the interim.
Eibner provides solid power offensively and was looking good in the minors, connecting on .309 at the plate.
Title Odds Hit?
The concern is for the big picture, as the Royals need all the help they can get if they want to defend their World Series title of a year ago.
Kansas City’s hasn’t been quite themselves this year, thus far posting a mediocre 24-22 record and settling for third place in a AL Central division they dominated a year ago. However, their problem hasn’t been on the offensive end, but more a lack of a defensive prowess.
Should their defense be able to circle back around, it’s still possible the Royals can make the playoffs and make another deep playoff run. Unfortunately the Moustakas injury likely hurts the offense, which could turn their lone strength into a more mediocre asset. Needless to say, Kansas City is already hurting and a long absence from one of their best offensive players certainly won’t help them turn things around.
If they weren’t already, they are quickly becoming very poor bets to repeat as World Series champions.
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