Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi tears a ligament in his knee

CHICAGO (AP) —

Kansas City Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi’s season is in jeopardy after tests Thursday revealed a torn ACL in his left knee.

The 26-year-old Mondesi, who played in just 35 games in 2021 due to left hamstring and left oblique injuries, had started 14 of 15 games.

“It’s heartbreaking,” infielder Nicky Lopez said.

An MRI on Thursday revealed the tear. Mondesi, who was hitting .140 (7-for-50) with 5-for-5 stolen bases, suffered the injury on an attempted interception play Tuesday night against the Chicago White Sox.

Lopez, who started 141 games at shortstop in 2021, will likely move past second base. Bobby Witt Jr. is also a possibility, but manager Mike Matheny hinted that his prized rookie is acclimating to third base.

“I expect to be there (at shortstop) probably every day,” Lopez said. “Until I hear otherwise.”

Versatile Whit Merrifield is expected to move from right field to second base.

“We also know that Nicky Lopez played a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop last year, as well as what Whit Merrifield did at second base,” Matheny said. “There are options.”

Matheny initially believed that Mondesi, who stole 24 bases in the 60-game 2020 season, avoided a major injury after Tuesday’s game. But the Royals’ clubhouse was shaken Thursday when more tests revealed the severity of the injury.

“You could tell our locker room took a hit,” Lopez said. “(Mondesi) he keeps things to himself, but he’s one of the nicest guys on the team. He is so genuine, a great teammate. You never hear anything come out of his mouth. He is very positive.

“And I can speak for a lot of people on the team that our hearts break for him because he’s so unlucky.”

Outfielder Kyle Isbel was promoted from Triple-A Omaha, where he went 5-for-20 with a home run and four RBIs.

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