KANSAS CITY — As luck would have it, the day back in March that shortstop Adalberto Mondesi was set to start his first Cactus League game was when the pandemic shut down MLB.
But Mondesi, recovering from left shoulder surgery last fall, didn’t get frustrated. Instead he used the extra three months to continue to strengthen the shoulder. He now reports it is 100 percent, no limitations.
Mondesi proved that in Tuesday’s first scrimmage -- he doubled and singled, and both balls were hit hard. “It was really nice to see Mondi on the field, the life in his body,” manager Mike Matheny said, “and just to see that sweet swing.”
Mondesi, in a Zoom interview on Wednesday, said there are no restrictions in the movement of his shoulder.
“Yes, it feels great,” Mondesi said. “When I went back home to [the Dominican Republic], the Royals kept up with my shoulder program. I’m OK. I’m just normal again.”
Mondesi, like most of the Royals hitters, was somewhat limited in terms of batting practice during the pause.
“I just stayed working back home,” he said. “I wanted to stay with my timing and all the regular stuff. Make sure it’s good when I got back here.
“I faced a couple of pitchers back [in the DR]. But they said I should stay away from guys and stay safe with all that’s going on. But I got to face a few guys. That helped.” Mondesi’s bat, speed and glove will be pivotal to the Royals' chances of pulling off a surprise in 2020.
“We have a good team, and we just need to go out and compete,” he said. “And we need to start good right away because we only have 60 games. You have to start good.”
Mondesi credits his offseason workout schedule for the progress he’s made. After the surgery he stayed in Kansas City, which was quite an adjustment in terms of climate.
“Yeah, it was different with the weather,” he said, smiling, of a Kansas City winter, “but it was part of my rehab. And it was good for me.”
Injuries have slowed Mondesi’s career in recent years, a stigma he’d like to put in his rearview mirror.
What will be the key to playing close to all 60 games? “Just be ready,” he said. “I’m just really happy to be back on the field and I feel great. Just waiting for Opening Day.”