Rios could return to Royals on Friday

Right fielder reports no issues with left hand while on rehab assignment

Rios could return to Royals on Friday

NEW YORK -- Royals manager Ned Yost said Wednesday that Alex Rios, on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Omaha, will be re-evaluated on Thursday and could rejoin the team on Friday in Chicago for the series opener against the Cubs.

Rios, recovering from a broken left hand, has missed 38 games after being hit by a pitch in Minnesota.

Rios began his rehab assignment on Monday and played in right field for seven innings for the first time on Tuesday. Yost said Rios reported no significant pain issues.

The Royals' offense has been somewhat stagnant during a three-game slide entering Wednesday's game, and Rios' return would be welcomed.

"With him in the lineup," Yost said, "our batting order just gets that much deeper."

Duffy improving: Royals left-hander Danny Duffy reported no issues after playing catch on Tuesday. Duffy threw about 25 times from a distance of 75 feet.

Duffy, on the disabled list with shoulder soreness, said he will throw a side session on Friday in Chicago.

"It's getting better," he said. "It's just a little sore from where the cortisone shot went in. But the soreness has gone from being about the size of a grapefruit to about the size of a pea."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.