Danny Valencia returns to Royals’ lineup, will platoon at third base

06/22/2014 5:41 PM

06/22/2014 5:41 PM

Danny Valencia returned to the Royals from the disabled list on Sunday morning, and with his return came the revival of the team’s platoon at third base. Valencia will face ”most” left-handed starting pitchers, manager Ned Yost said.

Valencia missed 19 games with a sprained left hand. He went 0-for-3 on Sunday against Mariners lefty Roenis Elias after appearing in three games with Class AAA Omaha on a rehabilitation assignment.

”His hand is solid and sound,” Yost said before the 2-1 loss to Seattle. ”And he’s ready to get back out there.”

To make room on the roster, the Royals optioned reliever Louis Coleman to Omaha. The team had just recalled Coleman from the minors, but were disappointed with his lack of progress on the mound. Coleman allowed two hits, including a home run, and a walk in his one appearance against Detroit.

Yost stressed Coleman needed to develop his two-seam fastball and sharpen his slider. The Royals found Coleman leaning on a four-seam fastball which lacked high-end velocity and a loopy breaking ball which did not confuse big-league hitters.

”And he goes ‘That’s the way I pitched in Class AAA,’” Yost said. ”Yeah, because you can get guys out like that in Class AAA. It doesn’t work here.”

Added Yost, ”This bullpen was built for him to be in it. We need to get him right.”

Thus Michael Mariot remains on the roster. He is likely to lose his spot when the team activates Bruce Chen (bulging disk in lower back) on Tuesday.

Escobar exits with shin bruise

A sizable lump protruded from the left shin of Alcides Escobar after the game. Escobar was hit by a pitch in second inning. He played through until the seventh, when Pedro Ciriaco replaced him at shortstop. An X-ray on his leg came back negative, and Escobar was optimistic about a quick return.

”I’ll be fine by tomorrow,” he said.

Cain takes leadoff role

With Nori Aoki (groin strain) on the disabled list, Yost had no choice. He placed Lorenzo Cain in the leadoff role for the first time this season. Asked if he wanted to remain in that spot, Cain started to speak, then began to laugh. ”Wherever they want to put me,” he said, before conceding that he loved the idea.

With Aoki out at least two weeks, Yost said he has yet to decide how to split playing time between outfielders Jarrod Dyson and Justin Maxwell. The two form a natural platoon, with Dyson facing right-handed pitchers and Maxwell facing lefties. Yost shied away from that exact split.

”We’ll go with the hot hand,” Yost said.

Maxwell has two hits in his first six at-bats since returning from Omaha on Saturday.

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4370 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/McCulloughStar.

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