KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Josh Fields' first season in Kansas City could be over before it ever got started.
Hampered by stiffness since spring training, Fields will have surgery on his right hip, a procedure the Royals say could end his season.
"It's always disappointing when a guy has an impact injury," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "You feel for him. He's a hard worker. He's a tough guy. He tried to play through some lower-half stiffness."
Acquired in an offseason trade with the Chicago White Sox, Fields opened the season on the disabled list with a strained hip flexor. He had been improving, but elected to have surgery after undergoing more tests.
Fields will have arthroscopic surgery to repair his labrum, the same procedure performed on Royals third baseman Alex Gordon and Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez last year. It will be performed by the same doctor, Dr. Mark Philippon of the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colo.
Gordon and Rodriguez both were able to return after their surgeries, though Hillman wasn't sure if Fields would make it back.
"I don't definitely know if he's going to be out for the whole year, but that's my assumption," Hillman said.
A former quarterback at Oklahoma State, the versatile Fields was expected to back up Gordon at third, maybe even challenge for the spot, and play some in the outfield. He seemed to have a good opportunity to get the starting nod at third when Gordon broke his thumb and Alberto Callaspo suffered a rib injury, but he couldn't stay healthy, either.
Bothered by quad and hip stiffness through most of the spring, he went hitless in his final 18 spring at-bats and was hitting .157 .
"He was a guy that was fighting to try to make this team in a situation where Alex breaks his thumb and Callaspo does the rib at the end of spring training," Hillman said. "He would have liked to have been in a position to be able to step in and play third base, but his body just wouldn't let him do it."