ANAHEIM, Calif. — The latest lineup tweak Tuesday by Royals manager Ned Yost positioned Lorenzo Cain at the top of the order for the first time this season.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
“I want to find a comfort level for everyone involved,” Yost said. “On days when (Jarrod) Dyson doesn’t play, I’ve got to have a No. 1 hitter. For me right now, Cain is as good as anybody to give a look at.
“We did it some last year, and it went all right. We’ll find out.”
Yost tried Alcides Escobar at leadoff last week for three games, with Cain batting second, after dropping Alex Gordon to third in the lineup in hopes of generating more pop from the middle of the order.
“(Escobar) just didn’t look real comfortable at the one to me,” Yost said said. “He’s more comfortable, more suited, to the two.”
Cain served 14 times last season as the leadoff hitter — under similar circumstances. When Yost shifted Gordon from first to third in the season’s closing weeks.
“It’s definitely not new to me,” he said. “I’ll just go up there and try to get on base as much as possible.”
Cain carried a club-leading .328 average (and a club-leading .386 on-base percentage) into Tuesday’s game against the Angels. He batted .303 last season as a leadoff hitter.
Dyson served the two previous games as the leadoff hitter, and went three for 10, but Yost opted to start Jeff Francoeur in right field Tuesday against Angels lefty Jason Vargas.
That pushed Cain back to center field, put Dyson on the bench and created the need for another leadoff hitter.
“For me,” Cain said, “the biggest difference is mostly the first at-bat of the game. If I’m leading off an inning, maybe — but especially that first at-bat, I’ll try to see more pitches. That will be my main focus.
“When you’re in the leadoff spot, you’re just trying to get on base. As far as changing approach? I don’t change it, and I don’t think I need to change it. I’m still going to try to hit line drives. Just do what I’ve been doing.”
The Royals pulled off a statistical rarity Monday night by scoring 11 runs without hitting a homer or the benefit of a walk. That hasn’t happened in the American League since prior to Pearl Harbor.
It last occurred Sept. 22, 1941, when Detroit collected 18 hits in an 11-0 victory against the White Sox in Chicago.
Another day/night doubleheader awaits the Royals, which makes three this season — the allowable limit for every team except the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs.
An April 23 rainout in Detroit has been rescheduled for Aug. 16 at Comerica Park. The Royals and Tigers will play at 12:05 p.m. Central time before the park is cleared for a 6:05 p.m. Central time game.
The rescheduled date sets up a rare five-game series, which opens Aug. 15 and runs through Aug. 18.
The Red Sox and Cubs have exemptions from the limit on day/night doubleheaders due to the limited seating capacities of their stadiums.
Hi-A Wilmington outfielder Jorge Bonifacio, one of the organization’s top prospects, is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks because of a hand injury believed to be a broken hamate bone.
Bonifacio, 19, suffered the injury Sunday on a swing in an 8-2 victory at Frederick. The Royals put him on the seven-day disabled list Monday and promoted outfielder Tyler Chism from their short-season Idaho Falls roster.
Chism, 24, was a 43rd-round pick in 2011 who batted .265 in 2011 at Idaho Falls before missing all of last season because of a knee injury.
Bonifacio was on a 15-for-35 surge in May that raised his average to .325 through 34 games at the time of the injury. He was ranked by Baseball America as the Royals’ No. 4 prospect prior to the season.
It was 40 years ago Wednesday — May 15, 1973 — that Nolan Ryan pitched the first of his seven career no-hitters when he beat the Royals 3-0 at then-Royals Stadium.
Ryan struck out 12 and walked three. His gem remains the only no-hitter by an opposing pitcher in the 40-year history of what is now known as Kauffman Stadium.
There have been two no-hitters by Royals pitchers in Kansas City: Jim Colborn on May 14, 1977 in a 6-0 victory over Texas; and Bret Saberhagen on Aug. 26, 1991 in a 7-0 victory over Chicago.
The only other opponent to throw a no-hitter against the Royals was Boston’s Jon Lester on May 19, 2008 in a 7-0 victory at Fenway Park.