CHICAGO — Starting Jarrod Dyson in center field for Thursdays series finale against the White Sox marked the first example of Royals manager Ned Yosts plans for increased duty for his backup players.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Its going to be a bit of a challenge, Yost said, but Ive got a pretty good versatile bench, and I want to try to keep them all involved. I dont want them sitting for long periods of time without playing.
Dyson played Monday in the season opener as a pinch-runner. Veteran infielder Miguel Tejada batted for Chris Getz in Wednesdays game and drew a walk before remaining in the game at second base.
Utilityman Elliot Johnson and catcher George Kottaras did not play in the opening series.
Putting Dyson in the starting lineup meant Lorenzo Cain went to the bench after going one for eight with three strikeouts in the first two games.
It helped that Dyson, a left-handed hitter, had three hits in seven previous at-bats against Chicago starter Gavin Floyd. Dyson went hitless in three a-bats but drove in the games first run with a groundout.
My plan going into the year, and its flexible, Yost said, is to play Cain about five days a week to keep his legs underneath him. I want to keep Dyson involved.
Going into Philly, Yost said, where were facing a righty and two lefties, I wouldnt have (as much of) an opportunity there.
Butler to play
Interleague road games wont force designated hitter Billy Butler to the bench as occurred at times over the last two years. Yost confirmed Butler will be in the lineup this weekend for the three games in Philadelphia.
Yost declined to offer specifics, but Butler figures to play first base. That means first baseman Eric Hosmer, a left-handed hitter, will either sit or play the outfield.
The projected pitching matchups show the Phillies starting a right-hander, Kyle Kendrick, in Fridays opener before starting lefties, John Lannan and Cole Hamels, in the final two games.
Right-hander James Shields declared he was feeling hitterish as he carried a bat toward the indoor cages at U.S. Cellular Field prior to Thursdays series finale.
Shields is slotted to start Sundays series finale in Philadelphia, which means he should get the chance to hit against Hamels.
Im one for two against him, Shields recalled, but I was just 24 then.
True enough. Three of Shields seven career hits came in two previous games against the Phillies. That includes a one-for-two effort against Hamels on June 16, 2006.
We work on our bunts, Shields said prior to taking his swings. But mainly we do it for injury protection.
Shields is seven for 37 with two walks and one sacrifice in 40 interleague plate appearances.
Wade Davis, who starts Friday, is two for five with two sacrifices in five games, while Saturday starter Luis Mendoza is zero for three with three strikeouts in three games.
They all can bunt, Yost said, which is what you want anyway. Theyll be prepared, but its not like being a National League pitcher where youre hitting every five days. Shields might hit in three games out of 162.
By winning Thursday, the Royals avoided opening the season with three straight losses for the first time since 2001, when they suffered a three-game sweep to the Yankees in New York.
The 2001 skid hit four losses when the Royals lost their home opener to Minnesota before Jeff Suppan beat future Royals All-Star Mark Redman in the seasons fifth game.
The three losses in New York were to Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina. The Royals starters (and losers) were Suppan, Blake Stein and Dan Reichert.
Joe Mays, another future Royal, beat Brian Meadows in the home opener before Suppan stopped the losing streak.
The Royals did suffer sweeps in their opening series in 2006 (vs. Detroit) and 2002 (vs. Minnesota), but both were two-game series, and the Royals won their third game.
Memorabilia collectors have a new outlet at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals plan to offer game-used authenticated items at a new store to be located on the third base side of the Kia Diamond Club on the Plaza/Field Level.
The selection will include game-used bats, baseball, bases, jerseys, batting gloves and more. There will also be autographed collectibles from current and past Royals players.
The Royals Authentics store will operate whenever the stadium is open on game days. Plans are under way to offer items through online sales. A portion of all proceeds benefit Royals Charities.
Class AAA Omaha looked to continue a first-place streak of nearly two full seasons Thursday night when it opened its season at Round Rock, a Texas affiliate located near Austin, Texas.
The Storm Chasers have held at least a share of first place in the Pacific Coast League American North Division since April 23, 2011 a span of 269 games.
Omaha won the 2011 PCL title and advanced last season to the championship series. Lefty Will Smith started the 2013 opener.
It was nine years ago Friday April 5, 2004 that the Royals produced perhaps the most dramatic opening day victory in franchise history.
They rallied for six runs in the ninth inning to beat the Chicago White Sox 9-7 at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals trailed 7-3 when Joe Randa opened the ninth with a walk against Cliff Politte. A passed ball moved Randa to second before Ken Harvey drew a walk.
Billy Koch replaced Politte and surrendered an RBI double to Benito Santiago before striking out Aaron Guiel.
When Royals manager Tony Pena inserted Matt Stairs as a pinch-hitter for Tony Graffanino, Chicago manager Jerry Manuel countered by bringing in Damaso Marte. Pena then switched to Mendy Lopez.
And Lopez tied the game with a three-run homer to center field.
Marte then yielded a single to Angel Berroa before Carlos Beltran capped the six-run rally with a two-run walkoff homer to left.
The Royals got off to a 4-2 start that season before losing six in a row. By May 8, they were 8-20 and effectively out of the race.
• Aaron Crow stranded two runners in his only inning, the seventh, and now has 12 consecutive scoreless appearances against the White Sox.
• Jeremy Guthrie extended his scoreless streak at U.S. Cellular Field to 21 innings before yielding one run in the fifth.
• When Houston center fielder Justin Maxwell hit two triples Sunday against Texas, he became just the sixth player in history to hit two or more on Opening Day. The only other player to do it since 1950 was Tony Pena Jr. for the Royals in 2007.
• Kelvin Herrera, by working a scoreless eighth, lowered his career ERA against the White Sox to 0.82 (one run in 11 innings).
• Alex Gordon went one for three with an RBI double against Chicago starter Gavin Floyd. Gordon is 10 for 25 in his career against Floyd with five extra-base hits.