Billy Butler back in the Royals’ lineup; Josh Willingham has groin strain

Billy Butler hit a double against the Giants last month.
Billy Butler hit a double against the Giants last month. The Kansas City Star

Billy Butler is back in the Royals’ lineup for the first time Monday, batting clean-up as the designated hitter in Friday’s game against the Red Sox at Kauffman Stadium.

Josh Willingham had spent most of the week in the designated-hitter role, but Royals manager Ned Yost said Friday that Willingham has a groin strain. That means Butler will be in the lineup for the forseeable future.

Willingham strained his groin while running out a grounder during his final plate appearance Thursday.

“We’re hoping to get (Willingham) available to pinch hit in the next couple of days,” Yost said. “But we just go day-to-day.”

Butler, mired in a two-for-25 slump, isn’t the only Royals player slumping. Salvador Perez carries an identical two-for-25, and Alex Gordon is hitless in his last 16 at-bats.

Here’s the Royals lineup for tonight’s 7:10 game at Kauffman Stadium against Red Sox starter Allen Webster, who is 3-3 with a 6.47 ERA:

1. Nori Aoki, RF

2. Omar Infante, 2B

3. Alex Gordon, LF

4. Billy Butler, DH

5. Eric Hosmer, 1B

6. Salvador Perez, C

7. Mike Moustakas, 3B

8. Lorenzo Cain, CF

9. Alcides Escobar, SS

Yordano Ventura, P

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @BlairKerkhoff.

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