Soler (toe) returned from his minor-league rehab assignment Sunday and has been shut down from baseball activities, flanny reports.
Soler started the rehab assignment at Triple-A Omaha last Monday but recently suffered a setback, jeopardizing his potential return this season. The Royals were already planning to utilize the 28-year-old exclusively as a designated hitter upon his return, and it would make little sense to rush him back if there is any concern whatsoever. Soler hasn't played a major-league game since mid-June and he seems unlikely to return in September.
Soler (toe) served as the designated hitter for Triple-A Omaha in his first rehab game Monday, finishing 1-for-4 with a walk, RBI and three strikeouts.
Soler saw the field for the first time since June 15 after an extended recovery from a fractured toe. Because he hasn't seen consistent at-bats for two-plus months, Soler will likely require multiple games in the minors to get his timing back before making his way back to the big club at some point in early September. According to Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com, the Royals aren't expected to use Soler in the outfield upon reinstating him 60-day disabled list, so the 26-year-old will presumably be used exclusively as a DH during his rehab assignment.
Soler (toe) completed some baserunning drills prior to Sunday's game against the Indians, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports.
The running activity represents another step forward in the rehab process for Soler, who has been sidelined since mid-June with the fractured left toe. Manager Ned Yost said Soler is without a set date to begin a rehab assignment, though it's expected the 26-year-old will be ready for game action in the minors at some point during the upcoming week. Yost also noted that Soler likely wouldn't play the outfield upon returning from the 60-day disabled list and may only be limited to duties as the Royals' designated hitter in an effort to avoid an aggravation heading into next spring, per Flanagan.
Manager Ned Yost told Rustin Dodd of The Athletic Kansas City on Sunday that Soler (toe) is "not close" to a return.
Soler had been on pace for the best season of his career with a .820 OPS, but suffered a broken toe in June that ultimately required surgery. He's five weeks removed from that procedure, which is significant because the team originally estimated a six-week timetable for his return to baseball activities. According to Maria Torres of The Kansas City Star, Soler is scheduled to be reevaluated Friday and could get off crutches if all goes well. He's already been using an underwater treadmill as part of his rehab, but when the crutches are gone, baseball-related activities will be one of the next steps. The Royals currently sit at dead last in the AL Central with a mark of 29-68, so there's little incentive to rush back one of their younger stars, which could push his return date back to somewhere in the mid-to-late August range.
The move to the DL was inevitable after Soler fouled a ball off his left foot in Friday's game against the Athletics and was later diagnosed with a fractured toe. The injury is expected to keep Soler on the shelf for at least six weeks, creating a void at a corner-outfield spot until early August. Per Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com, Paulo Orlando will receive the nod in right field Sunday, but Jorge Bonifacio could end up being the primary replacement for Soler once his 80-game suspension lapses later this month.
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