ARLINGTON -- Royals right fielder Jorge Soler, who has been sidelined since near the end of Spring Training with a left oblique strain, started his rehab assignment off on a positive note on Friday night.Soler started in right for Triple-A Omaha and went 2-for-3 with three RBIs against Round Rock.The
ARLINGTON -- Royals right fielder Jorge Soler, who has been sidelined since near the end of Spring Training with a left oblique strain, started his rehab assignment off on a positive note on Friday night.
Soler started in right for Triple-A Omaha and went 2-for-3 with three RBIs against Round Rock.
The Royals could certainly use Soler's bat in a lineup that entered Saturday's action hitting just .210, which ranked as the second worst average in the Majors behind the Rangers. Soler hit 12 homers and logged 31 RBIs in 86 games for the Cubs last season before being traded to the Royals for Wade Davis in the offseason.
"If he's swinging the bat well, he could be a big boost," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Soler was slated to DH for Omaha on Saturday in New Orleans, then start in right again on Sunday and DH on Tuesday before the team's off-day on Wednesday. After that, the timetable for his return to the Royals is fluid, Yost said.
"When he's ready, when's he's producing and feeling good," Yost said.
The 25-year-old Cuban had an underwhelming Spring Training, batting .143 (7-for-49) with two homers and five RBIs, but he was nonetheless expected to be the Royals' starting right fielder before he sustained a Grade 1 left oblique strain in his final at-bat in a Minor League game on March 26.
In Soler's absence, the Royals used Paulo Orlando as their everyday right fielder, starting him in 13 of the first 15 games before demoting him to Omaha on Friday and starting rookie Jorge Bonifacio at right that night. Bonifacio went 0-for-3 in the Royals' 6-2 loss to the Rangers.
Orlando was hitting .149, with one walk and no extra-base hits, and all Royals right fielders combined were hitting .158 with a .211 on-base percentage and .436 slugging percentage. In 211 MLB games, Soler's career numbers are .258/.328/.434.
Salvy scratched from lineup
• Catcher Salvador Perez was scratched an hour before Saturday's game against the Rangers with neck stiffness, and he is considered day to day. Perez had started the 16 previous games for the Royals this season -- 13 at catcher and three at DH -- and is hitting .258 with five homers and eight RBIs. Andrew Butera started behind the plate on Saturday.
Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com based in Texas.