According to Royals beat reporter Andy McCullough, they will be without their first baseman for a majority of the rest of the season:
Eric Hosmer has a stress fracture. Ned Yost says he may miss a month.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) August 1, 2014
Eric Hosmer believes his hand has been fractured since Lester's fastball hit him. He said he may miss six weeks.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) August 1, 2014
For frame of reference, Lester's fastball hit Hosmer on the hand eleven days ago. He has played in seven of ten games since then.
It is quite a blow for the Royals, or at least as much of a blow as losing a player who is hitting .267/.312/.377 can be. It also doesn't help that the announcement comes on the heels of the Detroit Tigers acquiring David Price before Thursday's trade deadline.
It could be worse. They could have Raul Ibanez as their full-time designated hitter now. [Insert Big Bang Theory laugh track]
All joking aside, this is an injury that does matter for the Royals. Insomuch that Ibanez and Aoki will likely see more playing time. The Royals could get creative and put Infante at DH and play Colon at second. It would give them time to evaluate the young second baseman.
As far as playoff implications go, well. The Tigers have theoretically sealed up the American League Central. Even if the Royals are only four games behind, they are facing down a team with one of the best offensives in the American League, who also had one of the best rotations before they added the 2012 Cy Young Award winner.
Meanwhile, the Royals deficiencies run deep. Hosmer, he of the .689 OPS, is sixth on the team in wRC+. They'll be cheering the return of Jason Vargas and his 5.90 K/9, as it shunts Bruce Chen and his 6.42 ERA out of the rotation.
It's a blow for them,for sure. But, in a season headed for a decidedly meh conclusion, it's probably best to hope that Hosmer takes all of the time he needs instead of worrying about coming back for some fanciful notion of a playoff run.