Finally, after a weeks-long slump -- the worst of his career -- Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi is looking like himself again, looking like the hitter that manager Mike Matheny envisioned would be a threat near the top of the order.
And after going 6-for-16 with a double and a home run over his past four games, Mondesi is indeed back near the top of the order. In Tuesday's 8-6 win, Matheny put Mondesi in the No. 2 spot, the highest he has been in the lineup since July 31.
Mondesi went 1-for-4 with a single, a stolen base, a run scored and a key sacrifice bunt that led to an insurance run in the ninth inning.
“The conversation was basically, ‘This is who we see you’ll be,’” Matheny said. “It was, ‘We see you as a guy who should be at the top of the order.’ And to be honest, it’s also about if it can help us spark a good run.”
Mondesi’s slump had puzzled everyone from the front office to the fan base. He was in an 11-for-94 slide (.124) since Aug. 5 until he broke out with a three-hit game on Friday.
On Monday in Cleveland, Mondesi unleashed his first home run of 2020, a mammoth 458-foot blast, the longest of his career.
“I just let it go,” Mondesi said, shrugging his shoulders.
Certainly that home run had a special feeling, right?
“I didn’t feel it, really,” Mondesi said, noting that usually happens when a batted ball perfectly hits the barrel.
“I just keep working to the point where I’m feeling comfortable. I am feeling more comfortable.”
The only thing uncomfortable in Mondesi’s mind is talking about what has happened to him offensively in 2020. Mondesi hit 20 doubles, 10 triples (tied for the most in MLB) and nine homers while stealing 43 bases in just 102 games last season.
Mondesi, a dynamic defender with elite speed, seemed on the verge of stardom. He can’t describe what has transpired in 2020.
“I have been making adjustments,” he said, “and I know it’s coming. You just stay competing and feel positive.”
Perhaps his most recent success and a batting order promotion will turn his season around.
“I’ve been feeling good,” he said. “The only way it’s going to happen is to just go out there every day and work.”
Soler to IL
Royals designated hitter Jorge Soler was placed on the injured list, and utility man Matt Reynolds has been added to the 28-man roster.
Soler, the reigning American League home run champion with 48 big flies, has been dealing with oblique and mid-back soreness. This season, he is hitting .235 with eight homers and 22 RBIs.
Reynolds, 29, was signed as a non-roster free agent last offseason. He went 0-for-3 with a groundout and a run scored.
“He really had a good Spring Training in Arizona,” Matheny said. “He showed the ability to play shortstop and all around the infield. Every report we’ve had that he’s been the consummate pro [at the alternate training site].”