Hunter Dozier’s name didn’t appear in the starting lineup for the Kansas City Royals for a third consecutive day Thursday as the club opened a four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles at Kauffman Stadium.
Dozier, who has started at first base (19 games), right field (13 games), designated hitter (14 games) and left field (one game) this season, has been sidelined by discomfort in his right side. While not serious enough to warrant a stay on the injured list, it did raise enough of a red flag for the coaching staff to sit him for a couple days.
He took part in the full pregame workout on Thursday and said he felt “100%.”
“I feel good,” Dozier said. “It was just a little tightness, but I think they were just being cautious. I feel good. I felt good yesterday. I’ve been feeling really good.”
Dozier started in the first game of the Royals’ three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday, but did not play on Tuesday or Wednesday.
“I felt it swinging, but it wasn’t one particular swing,” Dozier said. “It just kind of got tight, which happens. I think just with my history of having some obliques, they were a little bit more cautious.”
In 2017, Dozier went on the 60-day disabled list with a left oblique strain. In 2019, he also had a two and a half week stint on the IL due with an oblique strain.
Dozier said the tightness he felt this week was “nothing like” the oblique strains he’s experienced in the past.
This season, Dozier has slashed .257/.320/.415 in 50 games. His .735 OPS ranks second on the team behind left fielder Andrew Benintendi (.787) and his slugging percentage (.415) ranks second behind rookie shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. (.417). Dozier’s five home runs rank third behind Salvador Perez (eight) and Witt (seven).
With Dozier out of the lineup, Carlos Santana started the last two games of the Blue Jays series.
Santana, who has batted .188 this season, was also in the starting lineup on Thursday. In his two starts on Tuesday and Wednesday, Santana has gone 5 for 6 with two doubles, three walks, an RBI and a run scored. Santana reached base five times in Wednesday’s 8-4 win.