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Mondesi's return to present lineup challenges

@FlannyMLB
August 31, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals are expected to activate left-hander Danny Duffy, shortstop Adalberto Mondesi and catcher Cam Gallagher on Sunday, which also happens to be the first day of September call-ups. Duffy will start Sunday’s game against the Orioles. Mondesi, rehabbing with Triple-A Omaha because of a left shoulder

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals are expected to activate left-hander Danny Duffy, shortstop Adalberto Mondesi and catcher Cam Gallagher on Sunday, which also happens to be the first day of September call-ups.

Duffy will start Sunday’s game against the Orioles.

Mondesi, rehabbing with Triple-A Omaha because of a left shoulder subluxation, likely will play about five times a week, manager Ned Yost said. Yost added that Mondesi will be under orders not to dive head-first while stealing bases, getting back into first base, or defensively.

“He can go feet-first,” Yost said. “Protect that shoulder.”

Mondesi’s return will prompt a domino effect that likely will mean Hunter Dozier will play much more third base and less outfield.

With Mondesi at shortstop, Nicky Lopez likely will move back more often to second base, which then pushes super utility man Whit Merrifield to the outfield. That will move Dozier, who has been getting starts in right field, back to third base.

The changes create some lineup challenges for Yost. Cheslor Cuthbert, a natural third baseman, could be reduced to splitting time at first base on a platoon basis with Ryan O’Hearn.

And with Merrifield going to the outfield more regularly, it will be challenging for Yost to find consistent playing time for outfielders Brett Phillips and Bubba Starling. Jorge Soler likely will DH most of the time through the season’s end, while Alex Gordon will play regularly in left.

“I haven’t figured it all out,” Yost said. “It will take some deciphering. I’m just going to have to balance it. Just keep balancing it.

“It’s like, trying to play Bubba Starling or Brett Phillips [even without Mondesi here] was tough. You can’t really play both if you want Cuthbert to play. In the end, you just want to give everyone a chance to shine.”

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.