Royals’ Michael Massey returns from injured list. Here’s how KC adjusted MLB roster

The Kansas City Royals got a major boost ahead of their weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles at Kauffman Stadium. On Friday, the Royals activated second baseman Michael Massey from the 10-day injured list.

Massey, 26, was sidelined with a low back strain. He sustained the injury in spring training, which delayed the start of his 2024 season.

“I’m excited,” Massey said. “Nothing worse than watching the guys on TV, and (I’m) happy they have gotten off to a really good start. Just happy to be here and happy to help in any way I can.”

The Royals utilized Adam Frazier and Nick Loftin in his absence. Both players drew starts at second base during his injury stint. Loftin, who hit .276 this season, was optioned to Triple-A Omaha on Thursday.

Massey began a rehab assignment earlier this month. He played in one game with Double-A Northwest Arkansas before heading to Triple-A Omaha. Massey hit .433 in seven rehab games with the Omaha Storm Chasers.

In 32 plate appearances, Massey recorded 13 hits, five doubles, two home runs and 10 RBIs. He also registered a 1.269 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage).

“I’ve dealt with it before, so the trainers did a great job,” Massey said of the injury. “I feel like everyone knew exactly what it was and just had to stick with the process of it and be patient. Feel like I’m 100% and ready to go.”

The Royals went 12-7 in his absence. The offense totaled 92 runs and ranks among the top American League teams with 23 home runs, 86 RBIs and 151 hits.

Massey retains his starting job at second base. He hit seventh in the Royals lineup on Friday night. He went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

“He is still one of those players in a developmental phase in the major leagues, but we believe in his bat,” Royals general manager J.J. Picollo said before the game. “He can provide a spark. He’s got some power. He does a good job defensively as well. ... We just want him to be himself. We like what he did last year.”

Frazier, who has made 13 starts, will revert to a utility role. In his career, Frazier has played defensively at third base, shortstop and all three outfield positions. He has appeared in 118 games in left field.

He will also provide a quality bat off the bench. Frazier is hitting .179 (7-for-39) with four RBIs this season. However, he owns a career .268 batting average across nine seasons.

“We have a ton of confidence in him putting the ball in play and moving the ball when it needs to be moved and putting up a good at-bat,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “You’ve seen it early this year, he hasn’t hit the way he would like, but he has taken his walks, he is working counts and making pitchers work. And that can have a lot of value, especially, late in the game.”

The Royals weighed several options regarding the roster. However, they decided that Loftin can receive regular at-bats in Triple-A Omaha.

It was a difficult choice, but one that can help both sides.

“We know Nick is going to be apart of this team, and he is going to help us out,” Picollo said. “Need him to go down to Triple-A and play well. And when the opportunity presents itself, come back up and help this team continue to win.”