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Sprained hand keeps Valencia from Royals' lineup

KANSAS CITY -- Danny Valencia's opportunity to show what he can do for the Royals at third base is still on hold.

Valencia was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game on Monday night because of a sprained left hand sustained while swinging the bat on Saturday at Anaheim. He's expected to be out another three to five days.

How does it feel?

"Not too great right now," Valencia said late Monday afternoon.

Valencia said he underwent tests including an MRI on Monday and was awaiting results. But he failed one crucial test.

"He went in to try to swing, and he couldn't swing," manager Ned Yost said.

Valencia has not been placed on the disabled list. He was replaced on Sunday at third base by Jimmy Paredes and on Monday night by Pedro Ciriaco.

"Ciriaco is a little more defensive, Jimmy's a little more offensive, as a switch-hitter," Yost said. "I want defense in there today. Simple as that."

Regular third baseman Mike Moustakas was dispatched to Triple-A Omaha last Thursday to work on his hitting, and he hit his first home run, a line drive to right field, on Saturday night against Round Rock. Moustakas, in four games for the Storm Chasers, is 3-for-15, .200.

With Moustakas away, Valencia was looking at a chance to re-establish himself as more than a platoon player.

"Absolutely," Valencia said. "When you can play in the Major Leagues every day, it's a great opportunity. You've got to make the best of it."

He opened the Royals' three-run 13th inning Saturday with a long double in the 7-4 victory over the Angels, but he also suffered a sprained left hand earlier in that at-bat.

Valencia, who was put into the lineup against left-handers as Moustakas' struggles mounted, said he understands full well where Moustakas is right now because he's been there himself.

"We've all been through that," Valencia said.

Valencia broke into the Major Leagues with the Twins in 2010, and played 154 games the next season when he had 15 homers and 72 RBIs, both career bests.

Valencia said the last time he was an everyday third baseman was "the beginning of 2012, before I got sent down [when he was hitting .198]."

He bounced around after that, logging considerable time in the Minor Leagues around stints with the Red Sox and Orioles, before getting traded to the Royals last winter for outfielder David Lough.

Valencia, 29, said he thinks he's a better player now.

"As you get older, you get more experience, you get more mature," he said. "I think it plays in there."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for Earl Bloom contributed to this report.
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