Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas saw defenses shift against him for the first time last year, and knows he’ll continue to see infielders load up on the right side — his pull side — until he hits to the opposite field or bunts with consistency.
“I’ve got to find a way to beat it,” Moustakas said. “I’ve been a pull hitter my entire life. It’s smart for everybody to go over there and shift that way against me.”
Moustakas said he’ll dedicate a portion of spring training to working on attacking the shift, but he found the best way to beat the shift at the most appropriate time last season, in the playoffs.
Moustakas hit a Royals-record five postseason home runs, four in the first six games.
“I was really comfortable and made solid contact,” Moustakas said.
And no shift could prevent balls over the wall.
Gordon takes swings
Alex Gordon took 15 dry swings, no contact with a baseball, on Tuesday with a fungo bat, and there were no issues. It’s the next step in his recovery from December surgery on his right wrist.
“He’s to the point now where we’re trying to back him off a little bit, he feels really, really good and that’s a good sign,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Gordon played long toss on Monday and declared progress had been made.
“The wrist felt fine, but throwing is the easy part,” Gordon said. “It’s the hitting that we’ll have to see about.”
Digging the diving bobblehead
What is sure to be one of the Royals’ top promotions this season at Kauffman Stadium occurs on June 20. That’s when the Moustakas bobblehead doll is presented to fans.
But it’s not a bobblehead in the traditional sense. Moustakas won’t be in a batting stance. He’s depicted flying over the dugout railing and catching a foul pop during game three of the AL Championship Series against the Orioles.
Moustakas said he’s already received orders for the prize.
“To have it commemorated in a bobblehead … Everybody in my family wants one,” Moustakas said. “It’s a tall order to fill, trying to figure out how to get bobbleheads.”
As for the play, the memory is fresh.
“It was crazy, one of the craziest things I’ve ever done,” Moustakas said. “It’s a steep drop down there. I’m still thankful for those people there in the dugout who kept me from falling.”