Starling (undisclosed) was placed on the 10-day injured list Wednesday. The Royals didn't provide a reason for Starling's placement on the injured list. Prior to his placement on the shelf, Starling went 4-for-19 across nine appearances. Meibrys Viloria was summoned to the active roster in a corresponding move.
Starling is out of the lineup for Sunday's game against the White Sox. The Royals have used a committee of players to replace Hunter Dozier (illness) in the outfield, with Starling being one of the main beneficiaries. However, after starting in three of the past four games in center field, Starling will shift to the bench as Brett Phillips gets the nod in his place. Starling provides value defensively but has thus far struggled to get going at the dish this season, going 3-for-15 while striking out in 38.9 percent of his plate appearances.
Starling is starting in center field and batting ninth in Friday's season opener at Cleveland, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports. The 27-year-old isn't expected to be an everyday starter this season, but the Royals are without Ryan O'Hearn (illness) and Hunter Dozier (illness) to begin the season. Starling made his big-league debut last season and had a .572 OPS in 197 plate appearances, but he could carve out some opportunities if he can take advantage of the early-season absences.
Starling had a .367/.441/.767 slash line with three doubles, three home runs and three stolen bases through 30 at-bats before spring training was suspended. The 27-year-old isn't typically a significant power threat and had only 11 homers in 482 plate appearances between Triple-A and the majors in 2019, so the spring training pop is certainly surprising. Starling -- the fifth overall pick in the 2011 draft -- is likely to begin the season in the big leagues since he's out of minor-league options, and he seems likely to be in the mix with Brett Phillips to work as Kansas City's fourth outfielder.
Starling (side) is not in the lineup for Sunday's game against the Twins. Starling exited Wednesday's contest with left side tightness and will end up missing the final three games, assuming he doesn't appear off the bench. The 26-year-old has a .215/.255/.317 slash line over 56 games in his first taste of MLB action. Erick Mejia will start in center field for the season finale.
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