OAKLAND -- In an expected move, the Royals placed first baseman Eric Hosmer (right hand fracture) on the 15-day disabled list Saturday. Southpaw Jason Vargas, who recently recovered from an appendectomy, was activated from the DL to fill Hosmer's spot on the active roster.
Hosmer initially injured the third metacarpal in his right hand on July 20 when he was riding a 16-game hitting streak. He was hit by a pitch from Jon Lester, who opposed Vargas on Saturday in his A's debut. On Thursday, Hosmer aggravated the hand injury on a checked swing before being taken out of the game.
"It's a non-displaced stress fracture," Royals manager Ned Yost said Friday. "That means it doesn't need to be casted, doesn't need surgery; just needs time to heal. He's a pretty quick healer, but it's probably going to be a 3-4 week ordeal."
Hosmer has seen a hand specialist and is still traveling with his teammates in Oakland as he receives treatment. In 104 contests, he is batting .267/.312/.377 with six homers and 46 RBIs. Billy Butler has made two starts at first base since Hosmer reinjured himself and is expected to get the majority of the playing time at the position.
So will Hosmer need a Minor League rehab stint as the Royals enter the stretch run of the regular season?
"When we get there, we'll figure that out," Yost said. "For now, we just want to get him healed up."
Veteran Bruce Chen, who went 1-1 with a 5.28 ERA in three spot starts for Vargas, will be moved back to the bullpen as a long reliever.
Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.