April showers bring twi-night doubleheaders in August, and they also make managers cautious about their players.
To that end, Royals manager Ned Yost chose not to start first baseman Eric Hosmer Saturday night because Hosmer had a little tightness in his right quadriceps muscle.
“After the two wet days, Hos started feeling a little tightness in his quad again,” Yost said. “I wasn’t going to play him (Friday) against the lefty (J.A. Happ). It’s going to be cold again tonight. I’m going to sit him and play him (Sunday) when it’s warmer. I just don’t want to take any chances of that flaring up.”
Hosmer suffered a slightly strained right quad while playing for Team USA at the World Baseball Classic, but it’s not a recurrence of that injury.
“It’s just tight. He didn’t pull it,” Yost said. “It came back on with the wet and cold games that we had (earlier in the week) against Minnesota. With the weather getting into the high 40s and low 50s tonight, (Sunday) it’s supposed to be 70.”
Hosmer is batting .269 this season with four RBIs in nine games.Butler plays first
With Hosmer out, Billy Butler played first base on Saturday, and he welcomed the opportunity.
“Honestly, I play better when I do it, because I’m not consistently thinking about my at-bats,” Butler said. “I’m just letting the game come to me and taking it from there. It honestly makes me a better player, because I’m not being so nit-picky on my at-bats. It allows me to relax a little more.”
Butler played first base in two games last weekend in Philadelphia because there was no designated hitter in the games against the Phillies.Cain at DH
Yost had previously stated a desire to give center fielder Lorenzo Cain some time off to rest his legs this year. A strained left groin, a torn left hip flexor and a strained right hamstring limited Cain last season to just 61 games.
With Butler playing in the field, Yost chose to use Cain as DH. Jarrod Dyson started in center field and went one for four with a double.
It offered a bit of a break for Cain, who turned 27 on Saturday. He finished the night zero for four.
“Just making sure my legs are ready to go for an entire season,” Cain said. “So, if they want to give me a day off here and there, that’s fine with me. It definitely helps.”
It also was a chance for Dyson to see some action.
“We’re trying to find ways to get Dyson in the game,” Yost said. “We got both Elliott (Johnson) and Miguel Tejada in the game (Friday) night and just trying to keep those guys as fresh as possible.”Moose hits sixth
Third baseman Mike Moustakas was moved from the cleanup spot to sixth for Saturday’s game. Moustakas entered the game batting .176 with one RBI in 38 plate appearances. Moustakas was hitless in four at-bats with two strikeouts as his average dropped to .158.
“We need a little more production in the middle of that lineup, and Moose is, my opinion is, going to be a big-time producer for us,” Yost said. “Right now he’s struggling a little bit, so we dropped him down, let him get his feet on the ground again, get rolling and then we’ll move him right back up there again.”
Catcher Salvador Perez hit fourth on Saturday and went two for four with a double.Etc.
• This was James Shields' 20th complete game of his career.
• Alex Gordon extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a two-for-five night.
• Billy Butler tied his career high for walks with three against the Jays.
• The Royals’ pitching staff led the American League in strikeouts with 94 through the first 10 games. The starters lead the AL in strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.38) with 57 strikeouts and just 13 walks.
• Interleague play beckons again. Some of the Royals pitchers took batting practice ahead of a two-game series that starts Tuesday in Atlanta.
• Cain leads the AL with a .625 average with runners in scoring position. Evan Longoria of the Rays was second (.600).