KANSAS CITY -- Bobby Witt Jr. left Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Rays with right hamstring tightness, the Royals announced, and he’s considered day to day as the club determines the injury's severity and the next steps for the shortstop.
After the Royals’ 4-2 win at Kauffman Stadium, manager Mike Matheny said the scans Witt had off-site following his departure came back “pretty good,” and they will see how treatment and rest help him before determining his availability on Monday.
Witt poked an RBI single into right field in the first inning, then stole second base before tagging up to third on Hunter Dozier’s fly ball to right field. It was during the sprint to second base that Witt said he felt his hamstring tighten up, a type of injury he's never dealt with before.
“As of now, it’s a sore, tight hamstring. Nothing other than that,” Witt said. “They said day to day, so hopefully I’ll be back in there soon.”
The Royals said his removal was a “precaution.”
“He felt it, and it’s not something he’s had an issue with before, which is amazing to play at as high of a level as he’s played his whole life, to not have anything really bother him muscular-wise,” Matheny said. “So yeah, the level of concern was high because this kid has a very high pain tolerance. We’ve seen that, getting hit by pitches and just bouncing back. So we were very cautious and concerned. Still are, we’ll keep an eye on him. But everything is pointing in a good direction.”
Witt’s health is of the utmost importance for the Royals’ future, and keeping him on the field in the second half of 2022 will allow them to take steps forward toward that future. The only health issue he’s dealt with this year is being hit on the wrist two times, which caused him to miss a few games.
The 22-year-old phenom hit his team-leading 14th home run on Saturday and became the fourth Royals rookie to record a double, a home run and a stolen base in a game, joining Brett Phillips (Sept. 1, 2018), Carlos Beltran (April 28, 1999) and Phil Hiatt (June 9, 1993).
Before tagging up in the first inning Sunday, Witt recorded his 20th stolen base of the season, becoming the fourth Royals rookie to reach 20 stolen bases within the team's first 95 games of a season, alongside Pat Kelly (1969), Willie Wilson ('78) and Tom Goodwin ('95).
Witt and Seattle’s Julio Rodríguez are the only players in the Majors with 10-plus home runs and 20-plus stolen bases. Both are considered frontrunners for the American League Rookie of the Year Award.
Nicky Lopez replaced Witt at shortstop and went 2-for-3.
“[Witt] is a tough kid. I said, ‘Anybody who can take four fastballs off his hand, this is probably going to be nothing for him,'" Lopez said.