"I don't," he said, "because as an athlete, you have to mentally be ready for it to be it. So I'm not there yet."
Then he paused, broke out one of his huge smiles, and added: "The way it looks, it could be."
Sanders returned to Kansas City this week for another MRI. He had just returned to the active roster on July 16 after being out since May 3 with a torn hamstring. He played just eight games before being hurt again last Sunday against the Texas Rangers.
He was running from first to third on a hit-and-run play and felt something go in his leg. He left the game later but accompanied the team to Minnesota. Waking up on Monday, the pain told him not all was well.
"It's the same hamstring, but it's a different area," he said.
Although the prognosis is that he'll miss four to six weeks, Sanders isn't sure about that either. His season might be over.
"I don't know," he said. "If you think about how long it took for the other one ..."
He missed more than two months because of the first injury.
De La Rosa on DL: Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa was placed on the disabled list on Wednesday because of a strained left elbow.
De La Rosa pitched six innings in Tuesday night's 5-3 loss to the Twins. He has an 8-11 record and a 5.46 ERA.
Right-hander Leo Nunez, set to be optioned back to Triple-A Omaha, instead will stay with the Royals.
Gathright, Braun return: Outfielder Joey Gathright was recalled from Omaha to take Sanders' spot on the roster. He had been shipped out when Sanders was activated.
"I had fun there," Gathright said. "But the best place in the world is being in the big leagues."
Right-hander Ryan Braun was recalled from Omaha to join the bullpen after closer Octavio Dotel was traded Tuesday to the Atlanta Braves.
This is Braun's fourth stint with the Royals this season.
Davies on board: Right-hander Kyle Davies, obtained from the Braves for Dotel, checked in late Wednesday afternoon.
"I'm excited. It's going to be a fresh start and it's just going to be a good thing, all around," Davies said.
Davies had a 4-8 record and a 5.78 ERA with Atlanta.
"I'd throw eight innings with one run one day, and then go out and throw four innings with six runs the next time," he said. "I'm looking for consistency and a new start. Maybe new voices, different ears and different eyes can help me get my consistency."
Bunts: Mike Sweeney, out after knee surgery, is expected to join the Royals for the New York series, but not as an active player. He's still in rehabilitation and might not return to the lineup before September. ... Torii Hunter's home run on Tuesday night was his 20th against the Royals; he also had 20 against the Indians and 21 against the White Sox. ... Davies will wear uniform No. 28. ... Pitcher Jason Shiell, who was called up briefly but did not appear, cleared waivers and was sent to Omaha. Pitcher Scott Elarton, who was released, also cleared waivers.
Royals rundown: Rehabbing Ryan Shealy had a home run among three hits in Omaha's 11-6 loss at Colorado Springs. Luke Hochevar, last year's top Draft choice, gave up nine runs and three homers in 4 1/3 innings to take the loss on Tuesday. ... Jeff Nettles had three RBIs on three hits in Double-A Wichita's 9-5 victory at Tulsa. ... Julio Pimentel, 8-4, 2.74 ERA for Class A Wilmington, held Potomac to one run on three hits in seven innings of a 7-3 win. ... Class A Burlington, Iowa, pulled the third triple play in team history on a line drive. It went from third baseman Michael Thompson to second baseman Kurt Mertins to first baseman Luis Castillo. Thompson also hit his 18th homer in a 4-2 loss to Kane County. ... Clint Robinson's seventh homer, a three-run shot, carried Rookie Advanced Idaho Falls over Ogden, 4-0. Zach Peterson gave up just two hits in six innings. ... Alwin Perez had two solo homers in Rookie Burlington, N.C.'s 6-4 loss to Bristol.
Coming up: The Royals' series finale against the Twins on Thursday has been postponed due to the tragic I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis. Kansas City will instead begin a weekend series with the Yankees on Friday at Yankee Stadium. Leo Nunez (1-0, 0.90) will take on Chien-Ming Wang (12-5, 3.61) at 6:05 p.m. CT.