Opinion

Ben Zobrist gets his first start at second base for Royals

Ben Zobrist has mostly played the outfield since Kansas City acquired him last month, but Tuesday night against the Detroit Tigers, he started at second base in place of Omar Infante.
Ben Zobrist has mostly played the outfield since Kansas City acquired him last month, but Tuesday night against the Detroit Tigers, he started at second base in place of Omar Infante. The Associated Press

Manager Ned Yost doled out a pair of days off on Tuesday night, one to outfielder Alex Rios and another to second baseman Omar Infante. With Infante sitting, Ben Zobrist occupied second base for the first time as a Royal.

Zobrist has mostly played the outfield since Kansas City acquired him last month. He has been the regular left fielder with Alex Gordon (strained groin muscle) still on the disabled list.

But Tuesday afford Yost the first opportunity to watch Zobrist work with shortstop Alcides Escobar in the middle infield. When Gordon returns from the disabled list, Zobrist could see significant time in the infield.

“I think Omar might have a little bit more range,”” Yost said. “Benny will be fine there.”

To defend his decision to continually play Infante, one of the worst everyday hitters in the major leagues this season, Yost has repeatedly stressed Infante’s defensive attributes. Advanced defensive metrics like Ultimate Zone Rating support Yost’s contention.

But Zobrist is also a capable defender up the middle. Before Tuesday’s game, Yost expressed confidence about his new player’s ability to handle second base.

“Benny’s pretty solid in all phases of his game,” Yost said. “There’s no flash there. But it’s all a really solid, fundamentally sound game.”

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

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