BALTIMORE — Center fielder Jarrod Dyson left Saturday’s game after colliding with left fielder Alex Gordon in the left-center gap on a play that ended the Baltimore second inning.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Club officials characterized the injury as a bruised right hamstring. Dyson said it’s “not bad” and said he could play Sunday if necessary.
That’s a key point because the Royals are already operating with a three-man bench because of their decision to carry an eight-man bullpen.
“I think Dyson is going to be available (Sunday) in some capacity,” manager Ned Yost said. “I’ll probably start Mitch Maier, but I think Dyson is going to be OK.”
Yost said he saw no reason, pending further developments, to make a roster move.
Dyson suffered the injury when he slammed into Gordon as the two chased down Xavier Avery’s two-out fly with runners at first and second. Gordon held the ball as both players fell to the ground.
“I caught it and fell to the ground,” Gordon said. “And I thought, ‘Did that just happen?’ I knew I had the ball, but I wasn’t sure what happened.”
Replays suggested Gordon’s foot slammed into the back of Dyson’s upper right leg. Both players left the field under their own power, although Dyson was limping and came out of the game. Gordon played the entire game.
Yost offered up another new lineup Saturday in an effort to unlock an attack that entered the day ranked 12th among the American League teams in runs scored.
The key points: Moving hot-hitting shortstop Alcides Escobar to second in the lineup and dropping still-scuffling first baseman Eric Hosmer back to eighth — the lowest he’s ever batted in his 171 big-league games.
“We need to get our lineup going so we can set it and just leave it,” Yost said. “I don’t like moving guys around. We need to get everybody on track, but there’s nothing you can do but wait it out. Keep working and wait it out.”
Results were mixed. Escobar went hitless in five at-bats, but Hosmer went three for four with a double and two RBIs. He also scored the tying run.
It was Royals’ 35th different lineup in 45 games.
Seem like a lot? It isn’t, really. Eight other AL teams entered Saturday having used more different combinations than the Royals. Oakland sent out 42 different lineups through its first 46 games; Tampa Bay had 41 combinations in 46 games.
But Yost prefers a set lineup. He did little tinkering last year once the Royals transitioned several young players to the majors. He’s a line-them-up-and-go guy.
“Right now,” Yost said, “I’m just trying to take advantage of who is hot now and try to get them in front of guys who are hot — just fine-tune it and find some offense for a day or two.
“It’s like trying to catch lightning in a bottle when you start messing with the lineup … but we’ve got to score some runs.”
Billy Butler’s leadoff homer in the sixth inning was a $4,300 blast for Tim Morrissey of Independence as part of the Sonic Slam promotion.
It was also Butler’s 10th homer of the season and puts him on pace to hit 36, which would match the club record set by Steve Balboni in 1985. Butler’s career best is 21 in 2009.
Outfielder Lorenzo Cain is poised to ease back into game action in extended spring training as the next step in his recovery from a torn left hip flexor. Plans call for him to serve Monday as the designated hitter.
Cain’s recovery is progressing at what club officials term “a moderate pace” from an injury suffered April 16 while on a rehab assignment at Class AA Northwest Arkansas for a strained left groin. The original injury occurred April 10 in Oakland.
The Royals reinstated veteran left-hander Doug Davis to the Class AAA Omaha roster from the temporary inactive list. Davis, 36, was previously assigned to extended spring training in Arizona after signing a minor-league deal on May 12.
Davis is 92-108 with a 4.44 ERA in 306 games over a 13-year career with five teams. He started nine games last year for Class AAA Charlotte in the White Sox’s system after his June 29 release by the Cubs, where he was 1-7 with a 6.50 ERA in nine starts.
It was 10 years ago Saturday — May 26, 2002 — that reliever Cory Bailey became the only pitcher in Royals’ history to get victories in both games of a double-header.
Bailey pitched a scoreless ninth in the opener and got the victory when the Royals scored three times in the bottom of the inning to beat Texas 7-5 at Kauffman Stadium.
He got the final two outs in the sixth inning of the second game before the Royals took the lead in the bottom of the inning and went on to win 9-8.
• The Orioles are expected to announce a six-year contract extension with center fielder Adam Jones prior to Sunday’s series finale. The contract is believed to be valued at $85.5 million and is the biggest in franchise history.
• Right fielder Jeff Francoeur continued his recent surge by going two for four with a double. He is 13 for 25 in his last six games.
• Orioles reliever Pedro Strop had a streak of 13 straight scoreless appearances, covering 142/3 innings, before giving up the winning run in the eighth inning.
• The Royals broke a five-game skid at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
To reach Bob Dutton, Royals reporter for The Star, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow his updates at twitter.com/Royals_Report.
Changing it up
The number of different lineups used this season, through Friday, by American League teams.
To reach Bob Dutton, Royals reporter for The Star, send email to . Follow his updates at twitter.com/Royals_Report.