Updated: 06/22/2014 01:53 | By Agence France-Presse

Royals outfielder Aoki out with groin injury

Kansas City Royals outfielder Norichika Aoki, who helped Japan capture two World Baseball Classic titles, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday.

Royals outfielder Aoki out with groin injury

Norichika Aoki of the Kansas City Royals jumps out of the way of a ball as he bats in the in the ninth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Kauffman Stadium on June 20, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri - by Ed Zurga

The 32-year-old outfielder had been struggling with a groin injury in his first season with the Royals after two Major League Baseball campaigns with the Milwaukee Brewers and seven years in Japan with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.

Aoki is hitting .263 with 12 doubles and 14 runs batted in over 68 games for the Royals this season.

At 39-34, the Royals are one-half game behind Detroit for the lead in the American League central division as the midpoint of the six-month season approaches.

Since winning the World Series in 1985, the Royals have never reached the playoffs, the longest active Major League drought.

The Royals managed only one winning season after 1993 until last year, when they went 86-76.

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