It’s become a daily question, as it seems to have been for several years. Is Adalberto Mondesi in the lineup?
Mondesi missed the first 45 games of the season for the Royals with a strained oblique. He played in the next seven before tweaking his left hamstring charging a roller against the Pittsburgh Pirates and leaving in the eighth inning. He’s missed the next three games, including Kansas City’s 14-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Friday.
Mondesi’s availability is unknown as the host Royals and Twins play the third contest of a four-game series on Saturday afternoon. The Royals will send left-hander Mike Minor (4-2, 4.65 ERA) against Twins right-hander Jose Berrios (5-2, 3.36).
The Royals scored nine runs in the first inning and four more in the second to eliminate any drama. Whit Merrifield became the first player to have two hits, a home run and a stolen base in the first inning since Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson accomplished the feat for the Oakland Athletics in 1980.
Berrios will have the responsibility of slowing down the Royals’ offense. He’s won his last three decisions and hasn’t lost since April 20.
Berrios didn’t get a decision in his last start on Monday. He allowed just one run on five hits in eight innings of a 3-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
“He was magnificent,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said after the game. “I told him that. He threw the ball to the best of his ability. He had it all working. He got quick outs. He got swings and misses. He got everything he needed to do. He was putting the ball where he wanted to. He had really the full mastery of all of his pitches today. He was fantastic.”
Berrios sports a 4-4 record with a 4.74 ERA in 16 career starts against Kansas City.
Minor has been steady, but not spectacular. He’s pitched at least five innings in nine of his 11 starts. In his last outing, Minor allowed two runs on five hits and struck out seven in six innings of a 7-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“A quality start and a win, so it was good,” Minor said afterward. “I feel like I made some mistakes like every game. But I didn’t give up a whole lot of hard-hit balls.”
Minor owns a 4-2 record with a 2.60 ERA in 13 career appearances (two starts) versus Minnesota.
Mondesi has never appeared in more than 102 games, although he did play in 59 of 60 games in an abbreviated 2020 season. The 102 games he played in 2019 represents the only time he’s appeared in half of the Royals’ games in a full season.
The Royals say that Mondesi is close to returning to the lineup. Manager Mike Matheny said prior to Friday’s game that he hoped he would be available for limited action in that game.
“Today we’re going to go out and see how he responds,” Matheny said. “We were hopeful (Thursday) that the workouts would go to where he felt he could contribute to some level. We weren’t quite there.
“He came in early today to let the medical team do their thing. He measured out even better. Hopefully the work on the field will allow him to be part of the puzzle today. It won’t be in a starting role, but he’s taken another step forward.”
–Field Level Media