KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jose Guillen's disappointing second season in Kansas City has taken a bizarre twist: The Royals right fielder could miss up to 10 weeks due to a knee injury sustained while he was putting on a shin guard.
The injury happened in the second inning of Wednesday night's 9-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. After playing two innings in the field, Guillen came in to get ready for his first at-bat.
While bending over to put on his shin guard, Guillen felt a pop and sharp pain in his right knee. He was immediately replaced by a pinch hitter and taken to the hospital.
The diagnosis? A partially torn lateral collateral ligament.
Guillen isn't expected to need surgery, but will get a second opinion to make sure. The initial projection is for him to miss 4 to 6 weeks, though it could be as long as 8 to 10 weeks. The Royals placed him on the 15-day disabled list and recalled Mitch Maier from Triple-A Omaha.
"We're not sure if it's a surgically repaired situation or not," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "That's one of the reasons we're getting the second opinion. Right now, we don't think it is, but we'll wait until we get that second opinion."
Guillen already sustained one obscure injury this season, missing several days of spring training after deciding to rip out an ingrown toenail with a pair of pliers. He also missed a few spring workouts due to a sore shoulder and went on the DL in April with a hip injury.
Even when healthy, Guillen hasn't provided much pop for a struggling Royals offense.
Signed to a three-year, $36 million deal before last season, Guillen had a decent season despite a couple of distractions, hitting .264 with 20 homers and 97 RBIs.
This season, his averaged has dipped to .245 with eight homers and 40 RBIs. Not great numbers, but the Royals can ill afford to lose anyone from a lineup that ranks last in the AL in runs and on-base percentage, and next-to-last in average, homers and slugging percentage.
"Because of the history of driving runs in, it could be very big," Hillman said of Guillen's loss. "Run production has been a challenge, as everyone knows. Taking any production out, even if he hasn't lived up to his history, it could be very impactful. We'll have to patch it together the best we can."
The Royals also assigned the contract of shortstop Tony Pena Jr. outright to Omaha. He has until Monday to accept the assignment or become a free agent.