Heading into Monday night, the Royals had played 24 games since the All-Star break. Omar Infante started all of them. He hit .182 during that span, continuing his unintended journey toward becoming the worst everyday hitter in the major leagues, but still he started every game.
Infante started again in Monday’s series opener against the Tigers. But within the next day or two, manager Ned Yost said before the game, Infante would be given a chance to rest.
The relief will come despite the arrival of utility man Ben Zobrist, who can handle second base. Yost has decided to play Zobrist mostly in left field until Alex Gordon returns from the disabled list next month.
When Gordon comes back, it will be interesting to see where Zobrist plays. A sensible location is second base, considering Infantes sustained inability to either get on base or hit for power. His .546 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, before Monday, is still 86 points below his OPS in 2014, which was his worst since 2005.
Yost has defended Infante’s presence in the lineup, despite the putrid production. He continually rates his defense as exemplary, with his hitting as a secondary contribution.
“It’ll click when it clicks,” Yost said. “He’s mixing in enough big hits. And playing great defensively.”
The Royals owe Infante $17.75 million through 2017.