Royals center fielder Rick Ankiel will be out much longer than expected.
Manager Trey Hillman revealed on Sunday that Ankiel, who has a sore right ankle, could be out of Cactus League games for another week.
“I’m probably going to hold Rick out for the next six to seven days, just to make sure,” Hillman said. “We’ve still got plenty of time. When he pounds on it, he pounds on it pretty hard and it’s the middle of the field. He may beat that. Obviously I’m taking the passive (approach) rather than the aggressive.”
Ankiel was pulled from the lineup on Friday against the Seattle Mariners but the ankle was reported improved on Saturday.
“It was better yesterday but it was minimally better. It was better to a point where we felt like there wasn’t anything major going on in there,” Hillman said.
As far as Hillman knows, there was no specific cause for the injury.
“He doesn’t know how it happened,” Hillman said. “It was a little bit sore the day before. He didn’t do anything specific to it. That’s a mystery to me and if he did, he’s not telling me.”
It’s not classified as a strain or a sprain.
“Even with the double-top secret stuff I keep from you,” Hillman told reporters, “on the (injury) sheet there’s no ‘strain.’ It’s just sore.”
Ankiel will be restricted to upper-body weight and cardio exercises for the next few days to keep pressure off the ankle.
“We’ll try to keep him off of it as much as we can, especially if it’s pounding,” he said.
Ankiel has played in six Cactus League games, batting .214 (3-for-14) with a triple, a homer and four RBIs. With him out of the lineup, Hillman will take a look a prospect Jarrod Dyson in center field.
Dyson, a speedster, batted .258 in 63 games last season for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. He had a total 46 stolen bases including a stay with Single-A Burlington where he batted .343 in 17 games.