KC's Gallagher positive but asymptomatic

HBPs no problem for Dozier; Gordon goes deep

July 11th, 2020

KANSAS CITY -- With the announcement Saturday that had tested positive for COVID-19, the Royals’ catching depth is now perilously thin, with Opening Day less than two weeks away.

Gallagher, who homered in Friday night’s intrasquad game, was placed on the 10-day injured list. Catchers Salvador Perez (COVID-19) and Meibrys Viloria (undisclosed) were placed on the 10-day IL last weekend.

The Royals are running out of bodies to put behind the dish. They added non-roster catchers Oscar Hernández, Allan de San Miguel and Freddy Fermin in the past week to have enough backstops to get through Summer Camp.

It’s getting to the point that manager Mike Matheny, a former big league catcher, was jokingly asked if the Royals would employ a player/manager to start the season.

“Who do you got in mind?” Matheny said, laughing. “I think I could catch one out of one inning and then my knees would give out.”

But the situation is concerning for the Royals, who may have to turn to prospects MJ Melendez (Kansas City’s No. 13 prospect, per MLB Pipeline) or Nick Dini, who has some big league experience, to start the season.

Asked if the Royals were on the hunt for more catching depth, Matheny said, "I think it will give opportunities to guys who are here already. We might have an opportunity to get some of these [injured list] guys through and go from there -- I know there’s no guarantee a guy [can’t get COVID-19 again].

“But we just have to have other guys make the most of their opportunity. And we have to keep the guys who are asymptomatic and who are quarantined somewhat sharp and hope to get them back out here and get them going. There’s no perfect science to getting guys back -- you need two negative tests and sometimes that can go quickly. We’re hopeful we’ll get [our catchers] back.”

Gallagher played his best scrimmage of camp on Friday night, smashing a long home run off Mike Montgomery while also playing flawlessly behind the plate.

“To say this caught me by surprise would be an understatement,” Gallagher said in a statement. “I played in [Friday] night’s intrasquad game and felt great, then received the news this morning that my most recent test had come back positive. I am asymptomatic and will continue to work as hard as I can to stay ready while I quarantine. The first couple of weeks of workouts have just made me that much more excited about our ballclub, and I can’t wait to rejoin them and compete as soon as I’m allowed.”

Picking on Dozier
Royals right fielder Hunter Dozier got a scare earlier this week when he was hit on the right wrist by a pitch from right-hander Brady Singer. Dozier was hit again Saturday by right-hander Jesse Hahn. Dozier didn’t take his base; instead, he lined a sharp double to left field on the next pitch.

In his next at-bat, Dozier was brushed off the plate by a fastball from Hahn. And on the next pitch, Dozier again ripped a line drive for a hit.

“It was an offspeed pitch that hit him this time,” Matheny said, “but he stayed in there and got a good swing in. He hit the ball hard twice. He looks good.”

Gordon goes deep
Alex Gordon belted a two-run homer to right-center in his first at-bat Saturday.

“Yeah, the crowd went wild,” Matheny joked, though he was also referring to the cheers from Gordon’s teammates.