The Kansas City Royals’ Nick Pratto was excited to be back in the Rogers Centre.
One year later, it still felt surreal being in Toronto, Ontario — the site where he made his Major League Baseball debut — with the Royals.
“In the moment, it’s kind of a blur,” Pratto said. “Just seeing the guys in the locker room and seeing everybody’s faces looking around, it brings you back to specific moments. It’s pretty cool as some of the guys weren’t here last year. … Those are things you are going to remember for the rest of your life.”
Pratto was one of several players to debut in Toronto last year. He was among eight minor-league players to join the Royals amid Canada’s COVID-19 travel restrictions. The Royals were without 10 players that were placed on the restricted list.
Others that made their MLB debut in Toronto: Infielders Michael Massey, Maikel Garcia and Freddy Fermin among others.
This season, Pratto was making a different return. The Royals reinstated Pratto on Friday from the 10-day injured list after a left groin strain.
Pratto was sidelined since July 26.
He missed over six weeks and was recently on a rehab assignment in Triple-A Omaha. In seven rehab games, Pratto went 6 for 27 with two home runs, eight RBIs and three walks.
“It’s a process, and you have to stay patient with it,” Pratto said. “There were multiple times where I felt like I could’ve come back and played. All of a sudden, I ramp up and it doesn’t feel right. (It’s) trusting what the staff has in plan for you and being aware of your body on a daily basis. Being honest with yourself with ‘am I ready?’
“It was different as I have never done it before. It was a good learning lesson, and I am glad to be back.”
Pratto was not in the starting lineup Friday night. He is expected to play first base as the Royals continue to shift around different players. In recent weeks, Royals captain Salvador Perez played several games at first base.
The Royals sent veteran infielder Matt Beaty to Triple-A Omaha in a corresponding move.
“It was definitely not an easy conversation,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said of moving Beaty to the minors. “It’s something we had to do to manage the roster. He was very professional about it, and hopefully we see him again.”
Pratto is hitting .238 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs in 78 games with the Royals this season. He looks forward to a strong finish in his return to the club.
“It’s to play Nick Pratto baseball,” Pratto said of his mindset. “Get back to me being me and kind of throw the last couple of months I’ve had out the window. Get back to taking good at-bats and playing good defense.”
The Royals began a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night.