CHICAGO -- Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain was back in the lineup on Friday, playing in pain, doing his best to help keep his team relevant in the postseason race.Cain, who had not played since Aug. 30 because of a sprained hand/wrist, grimaced throughout his five plate appearances in the
CHICAGO -- Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain was back in the lineup on Friday, playing in pain, doing his best to help keep his team relevant in the postseason race.
Cain, who had not played since Aug. 30 because of a sprained hand/wrist, grimaced throughout his five plate appearances in the Royals' 7-2 loss to the White Sox.
Asked how much pain he was in while swinging the bat, Cain said, "A lot. Bad. Every swing, it doesn't feel good. I don't know what to say. How's it look?"
Yet, Cain was able to reach four times. He also stole a base and scored a run. He had two walks and a single, and reached on an error.
"It just shows you his value," manager Ned Yost said. "He was on base [four] times tonight. It's going to bother him a little bit. But still, he finds way to produce through all of that. You can't ask for anything more."
The plan is to keep playing Cain while the team remains in the American League Wild Card hunt -- the Royals remained four games back of a playoff spot with the loss -- provided Cain can tolerate the pain.
"Every day that he can be," Yost said.
Cain again fell to the ground on Friday while swinging, as he did a couple of times in late August: He said it's the result of trying to keep his balance while not putting too much pressure on the left hand as he comes through a swing.
"I think the biggest thing is trying to drive a ball right now -- it's tough to drive it like I want," Cain said. "And I'm doing the best I can to put the bat on the ball right now. Just trying to do the best I can to get on base and go from there."
Cain is proving he can be helpful with his legs. He stole a base in the first inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch in the fifth. Both times he went headfirst into second. That last slide, though, came with a price: Cain said he hurt the injured area a little more.
"I got it pretty good then, sliding to second," Cain said. "It got me. But I'm just trying to play through it right now."
How much worse did it get?
"It's already torn. So I don't know if it made it worse," Cain said. "I can't tell unless I get another MRI. But at this time, you know the situation, and I'm just trying to do what I can to help these guys out.
"I feel it when I have to squeeze. That gets me. Every swing gets me."
For now, Cain will fight through that pain.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.