KANSAS CITY — Scott Kingery is just about recovered from the hamstring injury that landed him on the injured list three weeks ago.
Kingery ran the bases and took ground balls at three infield positions Friday. At this rate, he could start a minor-league rehabilitation assignment with Single A Lakewood on Monday, manager Gabe Kapler said.
Kapler plans to use Kingery frequently at a variety of positions when he is activated. In preparation for that role, Kingery will get reps at second base, third base, shortstop and center field during his rehab assignment.
Kingery’s rehab assignment can last up to 20 days, but he shouldn’t need that much time.
“One thing that I believe is important is for us to strike and have him back when he feels ready and feels like his timing and his rhythm is good rather than put a specific number of at-bats on it,” Kapler said. “I don’t think you want to stretch it out for too long and I don’t think you want it to be too short. We’ll build him up sensibly with his long-term interests leading the strategy.”
In other health matters …
• Relievers Tommy Hunter and David Robertson, both recovering from elbow/forearm strains, began their throwing programs on Friday.
“It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t what I was hoping for,” Robertson said. “I was hoping it would be 100 percent and it’s not. It’s better, but not [all the way] better.”
• Reliever Victor Arano, on the IL with elbow inflammation, threw to 120 feet Friday and could get some time on a bullpen mound Tuesday.
• In the minors, highly regarded pitching prospect Spencer Howard remains on the IL with shoulder soreness. Director of player development Josh Bonifay said team doctors don’t believe the issue to be serious.
“We just want to be cautious with him,” Bonifay said.
Howard had been pitching for Single A Clearwater. There is no official timetable for his return.
“We want to make sure he’s 100 percent so we’ll take our time,” Bonifay said.
Bryce Harper was the designated hitter against the Royals in the American League park on Friday night.
J.T. Realmuto will likely be the DH on Saturday night with Andrew Knapp getting his third straight start behind the plate with Zach Eflin. Kapler emphasized that the pairing was coincidental and he will not employ a personal catcher for any of his pitchers.
Realmuto is scheduled to be back behind the plate Sunday with Vince Velasquez on the mound. The two had trouble getting on the same page earlier in the week in St. Louis (see story).
“I’m anxious to see how Vinny follows J.T. in his next outing," Kapler said. "That's something that is interesting to me and all of us. We trust it’s going to be improved. He shook [off Realmuto] quite a bit last time out. We will look to improve that ratio.”
Andrew McCutchen is expected to be the DH on Sunday.
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