Royals right fielder Jorge Soler made a hasty exit from Friday’s 7-3 loss to the Astros after fracturing the first metatarsal bone of his left foot. He incurred the injury on a groundout in the sixth inning, after which he was swiftly replaced by Whit Merrifield in the outfield corner. A definite timetable won’t be set for Soler’s return until he undergoes a CT scan on Saturday, but club manager Ned Yost has already projected a lengthy recovery for the outfielder, and MLB.com’s Rustin Dodd adds that a similar injury kept the Nationals’ Jayson Werth out of commission for over two months last season.
While Soler has steered clear of any major injury so far in 2018, this is the second time he’s injured his left foot in a week’s time. He sustained a minor bone bruise after fouling a ball off of his foot on June 8, though that doesn’t appear to have affected the severity of his newest injury.
Prior to his injury in the sixth inning, Soler went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against the Astros’ Charlie Morton. That’s hardly indicative of the career-best numbers he’s been putting up so far this season: a .268/.358/.473 batting line, nine home runs and an .831 OPS through 254 plate appearances. While Soler’s official replacement has yet to be named, Adalberto Mondesi might see some time at the keystone if the Royals elect to keep infielder/outfielder Merrifield in the outfield corner this summer.
We wrote a lot about Casey Kelly on this site circa 2010-12.
It was understandable. Kelly was a big-time draftee for the Red Sox and famously split time as a shortstop and a pitcher in the minors, with some people even wondering if he could do it full time. The Sox put the kibosh on that pretty quickly, as he became the top overall prospect in the Boston organization as a pitcher. He then made news when he was sent to San Diego — along with Anthony Rizzo — in the famous Adrian Gonzalez trade in December 2010.
He made his big league debut for the Padres in late August of 2012, holding a pretty darn good Atlanta Braves team scoreless for six innings, striking out four. He would pitch in five more games in the season’s final month to not very good results but missed all of 2013 and most of 2014 thanks to Tommy John surgery.
He wouldn’t make it back to the bigs until 2015 — pitching only three games after being converted to a reliever — before the Padres cut him loose, trading him to the Braves for Christian Bethancourt who, like a younger Kelly, the Padres thought could be a two-way player, catching and relieving. That didn’t work for him either, but I digress.
Kelly made a career-high ten appearances for a bad Braves team in 2016, was let go following the season and was out of the majors again in 2017 after the Cubs released him a couple of months after he failed to make the team out of spring training. He resurfaced with the Giants this past season for seven appearances. The Giants cut him loose last month.
Now Kelly’s journey takes him across the ocean. He announced on Instagram last night that he’s signed with the LG Twins in the Korean Baseball Organization. He seems pretty happy and eager about it in his little video there. I don’t blame him, as he’ll make $1 million for them, as opposed to staying here and almost certainly winding up in a Triple-A rotation making $60K or whatever it is veteran minor leaguers make.
This was probably way too many words to devote to a journeyman heading to play in Korea, but we so often forget top prospects once they fail to meet expectations. We also tend to forget all of the Tommy John casualties, focusing instead on the Tommy John successes. As such, I wanted to think a bit about Casey Kelly. I hope things work out well for him in the KBO and a baseball player who once seemed so promising can, after a delay, find success of his own.