Opinion

Billy Butler dropped to No. 7 in lineup as Royals face Rays

Royals designated hitter Billy Butler has been in a slump lately and was dropped to seventh in the batting order Monday.
Royals designated hitter Billy Butler has been in a slump lately and was dropped to seventh in the batting order Monday. The Kansas City Star

Billy Butler has batted seventh in a game just once since 2008, and only in 10 times in his 1,101-game career with the Royals. But he will be there for Monday night’s game against Tampa Bay.

Manager Ned Yost wanted to balance his lineup equally with right-handed batters and left-handed batter. So Butler, the right-hander-swinging designated hitter, will bat after left-handed swinger Mike Moustakas. Omar Infante will bat fifth.

“I couldn’t figure out any other way to do it,” Yost said before Monday’s game. “They’ve got three lefties in the ‘pen, and I’m trying to stay away from giving them cracks without being able to do anything about it.”

Butler hit .311 and posted an .811 OPS in June. But a quick skid cost him his cherished spot higher up in the lineup. He batted sixth on Saturday. He sat on Sunday. Yost dropped a hint that, perhaps, Butler may lose more at-bats if he continues to slump.

“We need some production,” he said. “We need some production out of the DH spot.”

Here are the lineups as James Shields (8-4, 3.93 ERA) faces Jake Odorizzi (4-7, 4.14 ERA):

ROYALS (45-42)

1. Lorenzo Cain, CF

2. Eric Hosmer, 1B

3. Salvador Perez, C

4. Alex Gordon, LF

5. Omar Infante, 2B

6. Mike Moustakas, 3B

7. Billy Butler, DH

8. Raul Ibanez, RF

9. Alcides Escobar, SS

RAYS (41-50)

1. Desmond Jennings, CF

2. Ben Zobrist, SS

3. Matt Joyce, LF

4. Evan Longoria, 3B

5. James Loney, DH

6. Logan Forsythe, 2B

7. Sean Rodriguez, 1B

8. Ryan Hanigan, C

9. Kevin Kiermaier, RF

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

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