Two struggling starters, third baseman Mike Moustakas and right fielder Jeff Francoeur, found themselves on the bench Sunday in the Royals’ series finale against the Blue Jays.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
“It’s a chance to give Frenchy and Moose two days with the off day ” Monday, Royals manager Ned Yost said. “They’ll be ready to go in Atlanta.”
Yost said he wasn’t overly concerned with the early-season struggles for either player, but he is trying to find a way to jump-start a sluggish offense.
“There’s no concerns after 11 games,” Yost said before Kansas City’s 3-2 walk-off win. “You know over the course of 162 games, guys will go and guys won’t go. … Ideally, you’d have four or five guys going at one time. Right now, we’ve maybe got two or three, but it’s just matter of time until it flips around.”
Moustaskas, who has batted cleanup much of the season, entered Sunday batting .158 — six for 38 — with two extra-base hits and only one RBI.
Switch-hitting utilityman Elliot Johnson started at third base and went hitless in four at-bats.
“I wanted a left-handed bat, and Elliot hasn’t had a chance to hit left-handed all year, so I wanted to get him some swings,” Yost said.
Meanwhile, Francoeur is batting .238 after starting the season 10 for 42 with three doubles, a home run and two RBIs.
Hosmer returns to lineup
First baseman Eric Hosmer returned to the lineup after sitting out the first two games of the series with a strained right quadriceps — an injury he picked up in the World Baseball Classic.
“Ned and I had talked about it in spring training and he told me the first couple months with cold weather not being good for your quads that we were going to mix in a couple days off here and there,” Hosmer said. “… We’re looking long term. That way, we won’t have this same problem come June or July.”
Hosmer went one-for-three with a sixth-inning single and an eighth-inning walk.
“Getting a hit makes a lot of things feel a lot better, but it is in a good place right now,” Hosmer said of his quadriceps.
Gordon continues streak
Alex Gordon extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a check-swing roller up the third-base line in the third inning.
For Gordon, who went hitless in the season opener but has at least one hit in every game since, it is the fourth-longest hitting streak in his seven-year Royals career.
“As the leadoff, I’m just trying to make something happen — get on base, get some hits and really set the table for the guys in the middle of the order,” Gordon said. “That’s my job right now.”