Paulo Orlando started in Alex Gordon’s place again on Sunday afternoon, but Royals manager Ned Yost is still searching for opportunities to utilize the rest of his bench.
Heading into Sunday, the Royals had yet to use outfielder Jarrod Dyson, infielder Christian Colon or backup catcher Erik Kratz. At some point in the second week of the season, Yost hopes to play all three, although Kratz may have to continue to wait.
Dyson could start for Cain on Wednesday evening against the Twins. This would give Cain two days off in a row, given Tuesday’s open date. Dyson, or Orlando, could start for Gordon on Thursday’s day game.
Yost would also like to let Colon start in place of Mike Moustakas at third base for one game, then start Colon at second base for Omar Infante the next day.
Meanwhile, Salvador Perez continues to play day after day behind the plate. He set a modern record with 158 games caught between the regular season and the playoffs in 2014. Yost hopes to avoid repeating that outcome this year, but it will be difficult.
For many clubs, the catcher would rest for Sunday’s game, which followed a night game on Saturday. But Yost values Perez’s chemistry with starter Yordano Ventura. Perez could also rest Monday, but Yost wants Perez to start because it is Minnesota’s home opener. Or Perez could sit Wednesday, but he is a critical component to starter Edinson Volquez’s rhythm.
And on Thursday, when the team plays another day game? Perez still might be hot at the plate. He entered Sunday’s game leading the club with a .421 batting average.
"But you’re just going to have to do it," Yost said. "Like, I don’t want to sit Cain, either. I don’t want to sit Moose. But you’ve got to find ways to get these other guys involved."