With Eric Hosmer ejected in the first inning Saturday and the only other player to appear at first base for the Royals this season —Brandon Moss — in the game at designated hitter, the team turned to its third option.
Cheslor Cuthbert delivered in the Royals’ 5-2 victory.
He delivered at the plate with his first multi-hit game since April 8 — no small achievement for a player who has appeared in only 20 games this season — but especially in the field.
Cuthbert made two nice defensive plays. In the second inning, shortstop Alcides Escobar made a diving stop to his left on a Yan Gomes ground ball and got to his knees, but his throw drifted to the home plate side of the bag. Cuthbert adjusted his stretch to complete the putout.
In the fifth inning, third baseman Mike Moustakas and Cuthbert teamed to take a hit away from Francisco Lindor. Moustakas made a diving stab at the grounder near the bag, and Cuthbert picked up the throw in the dirt.
Cuthbert isn’t a stranger to first base — he got several opportunities at the position in spring training — but had only one inning there in the regular season of his major-league career. Still, Royals manager Ned Yost was confident he’d get the job done.
“I was totally comfortable with him coming in and playing first base,” Yost said. “I knew he’d do a good job there from the get-go.”
Hosmer was back in the lineup for the Royals’ game Sunday against the Indians.
Cuthbert is among the Royals’ most versatile players. He’s spent most of his three major-league seasons at third base and also has played second base. In the minor leagues, he played more than 100 games at first base.
“I’m used to playing there,” Cuthbert said. “I played there a lot in the minors, so I was comfortable.”
Cuthbert said he travels with three gloves, one for first base, one for the other infield positions and one for the outfield.
“Whatever they want me to do,” Cuthbert said.