Royals Spring Training 2013: Lorenzo Cain hopes for a better end to camp than beginning

This was not the start to Spring Training that Lorenzo Cain was looking for this season.

The Royals center fielder irritated a muscle in his hand. He has had to skip batting practice for two days. The season has not even started yet and Cain is struggling with his only goal for the year.

"Stay healthy. That's my only goal that I set for the season."

That is an understandable goal after last season. Cain only managed to play in 61 games after various leg injuries derailed his season.

"It most definitely held me back."

So, the 26-year-old spent the offseason determined to avoid a similar fate. He worked with running coaches to improve his gait and strength coaches to build up the front of his legs.

"Different exercises to strengthen my legs. I definitely focused on my legs a lot more than usual."

Cain understands this is a big season for him. The Royals are planning on him to be their center fielder for the foreseeable future.

When healthy, he has shown some power at the plate. He is a career .281 hitter and belted seven home runs in limited duty last season. He has also shown the ability to play a strong center field. Those flashes have Ned Yost optimistic about his future.

"We think that he can be an offensive producer and an above-average defender in center," Yost said. "We really need him to be healthy."

In fact, the Royals are counting on it. They don't believe his hand injury is anything serious. They hope to have a healthy Lorenzo Cain back in the fold in a matter of days.

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