Royals notebook

Dyson is back atop the batting order

Updated: 2013-05-20T22:21:45Z

By BOB DUTTON

The Kansas City Star

— Jarrod Dyson started in center field for the fourth time in six games and served as the leadoff hitter for the second straight game.

Manager Ned Yost characterized both moves as day-to-day decisions.

“I’m not setting anything in stone,” he said, “but Dyson is the most prototypical (leadoff hitter) that we’ve got.”

The move enabled Alcides Escobar to shift back to No. 2 for a second straight day after going two for 13 in three games as the leadoff hitter following the decision to shift Alex Gordon from first to third in the order.

Yost said he never considered putting Eric Hosmer in the leadoff role. Hosmer’s .344 on-base percentage ranks third on the club, but he has just six extra-base hits in 32 games.

“I just haven’t,” Yost said. “I’ve thought about putting Moose (Mike Moustakas) or Hos in the two when Esky was batting one. But that’s as far as I took it.”

Moustakas entered Monday with a .209 average and a .288 on-base percentage.

“I like his ability to pull the ball,” Yost said. “If we get a leadoff guy on, that hole (on the right side) is open. But I think about a lot of things. That doesn’t mean I put it into practice.”

On Monday, Hosmer batted fifth, and Moustakas batted seventh.

Staff holding up

A couple of low-scoring, tight losses to the Yankees underscored the Royals’ need for greater run production. So does this:

They entered the week ranked fourth among the 15 American League clubs in earned-run average at 3.47.

It was a tight bunching at the top with Texas ranked first at 3.39, followed by Chicago at 3.40 and Detroit at 3.45.

The Royals have also, before Monday, received 26 starts of at least six innings in their first 34 games. They didn’t get to 26 last year until their 64th games.

The benefit is a more-rested bullpen.

The Royals ranked second last season in bullpen innings, but the relief corps has pitched fewer innings this season than any team but St. Louis.

Rehab updates

Right-hander Felipe Paulino sounded an upbeat tone on Twitter after his latest outing in extended spring training while he recovers from Tommy John surgery to replace a torn elbow ligament.

Paulino tweeted: “Feeling good today in my outing !! 2 inning, thanks god everything go well. Next step 3 inning on Friday.”

Lefty Danny Duffy is also recovering from Tommy John surgery in extended spring training.

Minor awards (pitchers)

Two right-handed prospects were picked as the pitchers of the week in their league for the period of May 6-12.

Northwest Arkansas’ Yordano Ventura, 21, won the Class AA Texas League award after pitching 11 scoreless innings in two starts and lowering his ERA to 1.57 through seven games.

Poised for promotion?

“Ventura has thrown well his last several starts,” assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said. “We're happy with his progress and evaluate his development daily.”

Lexington’s Bryan Brickhouse, 20, won the Lo-A South Atlantic League award after pitching 6⅔ scoreless innings in his only start. He was the Royals’ third-round pick in 2011 but struggled last season at Kane County.

“Brickhouse is off to a very good start and gaining confidence daily,” Picollo said. “It's good for his confidence to be recognized by the league and gives him something to build on.”

Minor awards (hitters)

Omaha utilityman Max Ramirez was picked as the player of the week in the Class AAA Pacific Coast League after going 13 for 26 with three homers and eight RBIs in six games.

Ramirez, 28, had five multihit games and compiled a 1.429 OPS (on-base percentage and slugging percentage). A catcher/first baseman/designated hitter, he is in his second year in the organization.

His big week boosted Ramirez’s season totals to .264 with six homers and 20 RBIs in 28 games. He batted .300 last season in 110 games for the Storm Chasers with 17 homers and 77 RBIs.

Minor details

Class AAA outfielder David Lough entered Monday’s game at Colorado Spring with eight hits in 20 at-bats over four games since his 16-game hitting streak ended.

Lough, 27, was batting .347 through 34 games with a .403 on-base percentage and a .493 slugging percentage.

Right-hander Kyle Smith, 20, lowered his ERA to 1.93 after yielding one run in six innings Sunday in Hi-A Wilmington’s 8-2 victory at Frederick. He was a fourth-round pick in 2011.

Smith’s teammate at Wilmington, 19-year-old outfielder Jorge Bonifacio, is batting .429 in May with 15 hits in 35 at-bats over 10 games. His average is up to .325.

Looking back

It was 19 years ago Tuesday — May 14, 1994 — that the Royals retired George Brett’s No. 5 in a ceremony before their 5-4 loss to Oakland at Kauffman Stadium.

It was 36 years ago Tuesday — May 14, 1977 — that Jim Colborn threw the third no-hitter in franchise history (and the first by a Royals pitcher in Kansas City) in a 6-0 victory over Texas at then-Royals Stadium.

To reach Bob Dutton, send email to bdutton@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Royals_Report.

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