The pitch that injured Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer connected with his right hand on July 20 in Boston, and induced a spate of swelling around the area. That swelling, according to Hosmer, camouflaged the underlying damage, a non-displaced stress fracture of the third metacarpal, a vexing result that could sideline him up to six weeks.

The diagnosis arrived via an X-ray on Thursday night, robbing the club of a Gold Glove defender and one of their best hitters in July. Hosmer departed in the sixth inning of a 6-3 victory over Minneapolis. He may not return until September.

Hosmer tabbed a three-week layoff as his best-case scenario. At his locker after the game, he looked ashen-faced.

“Bad timing,” Hosmer said. “It’s frustrating. But the positive side is you’ve got to realize you can still get back for that last month.”

Hosmer underwent an X-ray after the initial injury at Fenway Park. The examination revealed no fracture. This time, the result was different.

The reason for the concern felt familiar. Hosmer aggravated his hand on a check-swing in his second at-bat. The strength in his hand disappeared, and he could no longer control the lumber.