On Sunday afternoon, Royals starter Yordano Ventura will get his first chance to hit this spring. Except the team has barred him from swinging a bat, unwilling to subject him to potential injury.
"We’ll stand him far back in the box and put the shoulder on his bat," manager Ned Yost said before his team drove to Scottsdale to face the Giants.
The situation peeves Yost. San Francisco requested a game played by National League rules. The Royals could not convince them otherwise. Cincinnati asked for something similar on Friday, but Yost implored them to change their minds. Yost told the team he did not want to put James Shields at risk. "He hasn’t even looked at a bat all year," he said.
The Royals play their first road interleague games in the first week of May in San Diego. About a month before then, he estimated, his pitchers will begin taking batting practice and working on their bunting. But for now, they hadn’t spent the time.
With Tim Lincecum on the mound, the Giants wouldn’t budge, Yost said. He stopped short of criticizing San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy, but his discontent was obvious.
"I don’t understand it," he said. "I can’t grasp the concept of it."
Yet, of course, a few moments later he conceded that he could.
"I was like that when I was in the National League," Yost said. "I was in the National League with Atlanta for 12 years, and then Milwaukee for six years. And I was like ‘Yeah, bring your [butt] over here and hit.’ But when you’re in the American League, you understand it much better. It doesn’t make sense to make your pitcher hit."
Here is the lineup:
1. Nori Aoki, RF.
2. Alcides Escobar, SS.
3. Eric Hosmer, 1B.
4. Salvador Perez, C.
5. Mike Moustakas, 3B.
6. Jason Donald, 2B.
7. Carlos Peguero, LF.
8. Lorenzo Cain, CF.
9. Yordano Ventura, P.
Second baseman Omar Infante (bone spur in elbow) wants to take batting practice on the field on Sunday. It is a critical step forward in his route back to games. Infante was initially slated to only soft toss, with B.P. waiting on Monday. But he hopes to accelerate the schedule.