Opinion

Royals to test possible opening day lineup Friday in Cactus League

Alex Gordon figures to bat second for the Royals against the Seattle Mariners on Friday night in Cactus League action in Surprise, Ariz. The lineup is probably the one manager Ned Yost will use on opening day.
Alex Gordon figures to bat second for the Royals against the Seattle Mariners on Friday night in Cactus League action in Surprise, Ariz. The lineup is probably the one manager Ned Yost will use on opening day. The Kansas City Star

On Friday night, fans at Surprise Stadium can receive a sneak peek at what figures to be the opening day lineup for the Royals.

Yordano Ventura will start against the Seattle Mariners. Manager Ned Yost intends to play his nine regulars behind him. He also will unveil what figures to his batting order for the beginning of the season.

Some of the spots were already apparent: Alcides Escobar will lead off, Lorenzo Cain will bat third and Omar Infante will bat ninth. The rest of the group will fill in the openings.

Alex Gordon figures to bat second. Eric Hosmer will be the cleanup hitter, followed by switch-hitter Kendrys Morales, outfielder Alex Rios, catcher Salvador Perez and third baseman Mike Moustakas.

“We’ll probably stick with this for a couple of days and see how it feels and how it looks,” Yost said. “It very well could be the order that we start with. But still we have time to adjust, and look at it, and debate it.”

The lineup represents a blend of old elements and new. Escobar and Cain entered their slots in the final month of 2014. The offense subsequently showed more life, which explains why Escobar will remain the leadoff hitter despite posting a .317 on-base percentage and Cain will remain the No. 3 hitter despite hitting only five home runs.

Yost utilized Infante as his No. 2 hitter for 428 plate appearances in 2014. Yost indicated he wants more power from that slot in 2015. Gordon combines power with a solid ability to get on base. The Royals also feel Morales and Rios can provide more power than Billy Butler and Nori Aoki, the players they are replacing.

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

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