A pair of Royals tried their hands at new roles in Thursday afternoon’s 3-2 loss to the Angels. Mike Moustakas, the team’s starting third baseman, played six innings at second base. And Danny Duffy made his first relief appearance as he auditions for a bullpen role.
Moustakas is working out at second base to set himself up as insurance for the team’s middle infield. Duffy needs to make this club in the next week as a reliever, or else he’ll be shipped to Class AAA Omaha as a starter.
Bruce Chen gave up three runs on a pair of home runs in 5 1/3 innings. Duffy threw a scoreless seventh, albeit one with a couple of line-outs, in the seventh. He threw mostly fastballs.
“He was just getting his feet wet,” manager Ned Yost said. “He got through an inning clean.”
In the first inning, Moustakas scooped a soft grounder hit at him by Angels phenom Mike Trout. He made the throw to first in plenty of time. The next batter, Albert Pujols, uppercut a solo home run to center field.
The Royals tied the game soon. Danny Valencia, the game’s third baseman, ripped a one-out double off Angels starter Jered Weaver. He scored on Billy Butler’s two-out single.
Valencia left the game in the sixth after being hit by a pitch. The baseball appeared to strike his left wrist, but Yost indicated Valencia was fine. He was expected to get an X-ray.
Moustakas handled another grounder in the fourth. He was playing in shallow right field. The Royals had shifted their infield to defend against Los Angeles outfielder Josh Hamilton. Moustakas also took a grounder in the sixth.
The deadlock held into the sixth inning. Then Trout clobbered a changeup that fell on the berm in center field. It was a two-run shot. A solo homer by shortstop Jason Donald drew the Royals within one.Arms race
Wade Davis continues to impress Yost with his work out of the bullpen. He struck out one in two-thirds of an inning. Kelvin Herrera and Greg Holland each contributed scoreless frames of their own.
“Pitching was really good,” Yost said.Medical updates
Second baseman Omar Infante plans to test his sore right elbow by swinging and throwing today. He received a cortisone shot to deal with a bone spur on Tuesday.
Shortstop Alcides Escobar (shoulder inflammation) played in a minor-league game on Thursday. The team had tentatively scheduled him to return to big-league action today.
“If he’s feeling good, he’ll be in there,” Yost said. “Unless he comes in sore, then we’ll make an adjustment.”Up next
The Royals play their first and only split-squad game of the spring. Ned Yost will join James Shields for a game in Goodyear against the Reds. Minor-leaguer Aaron Brooks will start against the Angels in Tempe. Both games begin at 3:05 p.m. Central time, but neither can be heard on local radio.Quote
“It’s a different look, man.”
| Danny Duffy on his relief debut.