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Royals easing Cain slowly into full-time duties

Center fielder to be pinch-runner, defensive replacement early in return

KANSAS CITY -- Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain was activated from the 15-day disabled list before Wednesday night's 6-4 loss to the Mariners, but manager Ned Yost said he's not quite ready for full action.

"He felt good, he passed all his tests and everything was good, and we thought if we can get in the seventh or eighth inning and we have the chance to improve the outfield defense, let's go ahead and do it [Wednesday night]," Yost said. "We just never got to the spot where we had a lead and we could do it."

Cain, who went on the disabled list on Aug. 9 with an oblique strain, was batting .261 with 25 extra-base hits and 43 RBIs through 96 games prior to the injury. Yost said Cain has hit in the cage and engaged in soft toss off the tee, but has not resumed live batting practice.

"We're still kind of shying away from the hitting aspect even though he's feeling better, he hasn't had any live hitting," Yost said. "We anticipate if we need him, we are going to use him as a pinch-runner or defense late."

Cain entered Thursday's 7-6 walk-off victory against the Mariners as a defensive substitute in the top of the eighth inning and as expected, was replaced by David Lough for the next at-bat in the the ninth.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for
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