Don’t look for outfielder Lorenzo Cain to return any time soon to the Royals’ lineup as he battles to recover from a strained left oblique muscle.

“The report is he’s feeling better” manager Ned Yost said “but he’s still feeling some pain when he coughs or sneezes. So it’s still there.”

Cain received a cortisone shot last Wednesday and remained in Kansas City to undergo treatment while the Royals played a five-game weekend series against first-place Detroit at Comerica Park.

“That’s got four-to-six weeks written all over it” Cain admitted “but I’m hoping two weeks. I’m going to be optimistic about it. Hopefully it’s two weeks and I’ll be able to get back on the field and help this team.”

Cain suffered the injury on a swing in batting practice prior to the Aug. 9 game against Boston at Kauffman Stadium. His time on the disabled list was backdated to then which means he is eligible to return next Saturday.

That seems unlikely.

“Right now” he said “it’s just wait and see. Even if I take two weeks off then I have to get back in shape. It will probably take me a few days to get going and get the body moving.”

That suggests a September return perhaps mid-September is a best-case scenario.

Cain is batting .261 with four homers and 43 RBIs in 96 games but his defensive skills particularly in center field represent a key loss. His 3.4 WAR (wins above replacement) rating remains the highest on the club.

Yost indicated utilityman Emilio Bonifacio acquired last Wednesday from Toronto will likely split time in center field with Jarrod Dyson until Cain returns.