Kansas City Royals second baseman Omar Infante underwent surgery in November to remove bone chips from his right elbow but is expected to be at full strength by the start of spring training, major-league sources told FOX Sports.
The Royals, who made no announcement of Infante’s procedure at the time it occurred, are confident the surgery will alleviate the shoulder issues that hampered Infante throughout his first two seasons in Kansas City. The team believes Infante altered his throwing motion to compensate for the elbow pain, thus creating the shoulder problem.
Infante, 34, missed the last 15 games of the regular season and all of the Royals’ run to the World Series title after suffering a strained left oblique on Sept. 18 – the latest in a succession of injuries since Infante signed a four-year, $30.25 million contract in December 2013. Infante has a .596 OPS in 259 games with the Royals over the past two seasons.
Yet, Infante projects to have a key role on the Royals in 2016. His replacement at second base for the postseason, Ben Zobrist, left as a free agent to sign with the Chicago Cubs. With more pressing needs in the corner outfield spots and rotation, the Royals are unlikely to spend significant dollars to fortify second base.
As long as Infante’s right arm remains healthy, it appears he’ll be given every opportunity to earn back his everyday job with the defending world champions.