HOUSTON -- Outfielder Bubba Starling, the Royals' first-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, did not play for the Burlington Royals in their season opener on Tuesday in the Appalachian League.
Starling, the Royals' top-ranked prospect by MLB.com, injured his hamstring in the first inning an exhibition game on Sunday and was questionable to play on Tuesday. Terrance Gore started in center field for Burlington, which beat the Pulaski Mariners, 8-1 in 10 innings.
After giving up a scholarship to play football at the University of Nebraska, Starling signed a $7.5 million bonus with Kansas City last August. He has still not made his professional debut after signing late last season and starting this season at extended spring camp.
Burlington plays two more games against Pulaski (Va.) before returning home on Friday.