Kansas City manager Mike Matheny told reporters (including MLB.com’s Anne Rogers) that Santana suffered the injury while running the bases in Monday’s game, and continued soreness caused Santana to be a late scratch from Tuesday’s lineup. No specific timeline was suggested for Santana’s return, but he might not be out of action too far beyond the 10-day minimum.
While it seems as though Santana has escaped a serious injury, the absence is still unlucky, as Rogers notes that Santana has finally started to produce at the plate. The veteran slugger’s four-game hitting streak is pretty modest, yet it still stands out as a positive sign after Santana hit only .104/.307/.188 over his first 62 plate appearances. After signing a two-year, $17.5MM free agent deal with the Royals in the 2020-21 offseason, Santana has still yet to get on track in a K.C. uniform, as he struggled through an injury-hampered 2021 campaign.
Hunter Dozier or Ryan O’Hearn are probably the likeliest candidates to fill in at first base during Santana’s absence. Top prospect Nick Pratto is hitting pretty well at Triple-A, though the Royals might not call Pratto up and start his MLB service clock if Santana is only going to miss a couple of weeks.