The Royals received some bad news when starting right fielder Hunter Dozier confirmed on Wednesday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed on the injured list. Dozier had played in Monday’s exhibition game against the Astros.
“It was just a kick in the gut,” said manager Mike Matheny.
Matheny said that with Dozier going on the IL, backups Bubba Starling and Brett Phillips, both of whom are out of options, have made the team. Matheny also hinted that outfielder Franchy Cordero, who was acquired Thursday in the Tim Hill trade with San Diego, will likely make the Opening Day roster as well.
“I think we’re going in that direction,” Matheny said.
Dozier, 28, was Kansas City’s first pick in the 2013 Draft (No. 8 overall) and is coming off of his best big league season, hitting 26 home runs with 84 RBIs while tying for the league lead in triples with 10.
“I’m disappointed, to say the least," Dozier said in a statement. "I have been hit with a couple of symptoms that go with the virus, so I need to follow our medical team’s direction, get well and then work on getting back on the field. It’s disheartening because I felt things were going well on the field and I have a good feeling about the ballclub we have. To have to watch for whatever period of time that I’m out is going to painful.”