SURPRISE, Ariz. — Left fielder Alex Gordon will return to leadoff duties when the Royals open their Cactus League schedule and, if all goes as planned, is likely to remain there for the rest of the year.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
“I mean, I’m not writing it into stone,” manager Ned Yost hedged, “but probably. We’ll start out that way.”
Those plans also have first baseman Eric Hosmer returning to the No. 3 slot with shortstop Alcides Escobar remaining at No. 2.
The rest of projected lineup has DH Billy Butler batting cleanup followed by catcher Salvy Perez, third baseman Mike Moustakas, right fielder Jeff Francoeur, center fielder Lorenzo Cain and the second baseman — either Chris Getz or Johnny Giavotella.
Gordon batted leadoff for much of the last two seasons but shifted to third last year in mid-August due largely to Hosmer’s yearlong slump.
The Royals are operating with a full camp roster after shortstop Alcides Escobar and infielder Miguel Tejada reported for Saturday’s workout. Both had excused absences Friday when the club conducted its first full-squad session.
Escobar needed to stay an extra day in Venezuela to resolve his wife’s visa issues. Government offices were closed earlier in the week while the country observed its annual Carnival celebration.
“There was some paperwork with a visa that I had to take care of,” Escobar said. “It was nothing really difficult. It was just a matter of, being in Venezuela, having the festivities (keep me) from getting done what I had to get done.”
A stomach illness delayed Tejada in the Dominican Republic.
“I was in Mexico for the Caribbean Series,” he said, “and I probably ate too much. My stomach was really bad. When I got back home and was eating my regular food, it messed up my stomach. That’s why I was sick, but now I’m fine.”
Lefty Everett Teaford is targeting a Monday return to the mound after missing two scheduled throwing sessions because of a sore shoulder.
“It’s just a range-of-motion thing, Teaford said. “It’s not a major setback. I kept hoping it was one of those spring-training things where it will just be, boom, release and everything will be good. That my body would catch up. But I could feel my mechanics starting to go south.”
Veterans Bruce Chen and Luis Mendoza begin their battle to win a job in the rotation Tuesday when they start the first of two planned intrasquad games before Friday’s opener in the Cactus League.
The other primary competitor for the rotation’s final spot, Luke Hochevar, is scheduled to join John Lamb, one of the organization’s top prospects, as the starters for Wednesday’s intrasquad game.
All pitchers will be limited to one inning and won’t likely exceed 20 pitches. Plans call for lefty Will Smith to start Friday when the Royals open their spring schedule against campus co-tenant Texas at Surprise Stadium.
Single-game tickets for the Royals’ home opener April 8 against Minnesota are sold out, although some tickets remain for that game available for fans still wishing to buy 21-, 40- and 81-game packages.
The Royals began selling single-game tickets Saturday.