Billy Butler is not in the Royals’ lineup again Friday

Billy Butler has one hit in his last 15 at-bats.
Billy Butler has one hit in his last 15 at-bats. The Kansas City Star

Designated hitter Billy Butler was out of the starting lineup for the second time in three days Friday for the Royals’ game against the Indians.

Nori Aoki was in the lineup at designated hitter with Raul Ibañez at first base. Butler played some first base on the recent road trip with Eric Hosmer nursing a hand injury.

“It’s been a struggle for him,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He’s working so hard, trying to figure it out. He’s just not getting any results.”

Butler is in a one-for-15 skid, dating to Sunday in Boston. He’s taken over the American League lead in grounding into double plays at 17. He’s hit into four twin killings in his past six games.

Yost suggested that Ibañez will continue to play first as Hosmer recovers.

The Royals’ patience with Butler may be running out.

“We’re at the point now where we’re running out of time,” Yost said. “We’re past the 100-game mark, and again, offense needs to be a premium for us. We need to score some runs.

“We’ve given a number of guys extended periods to work through some non-productivity, but it gets to a point where you’ve got to do something different until we get hot again.”

Here is the lineup against Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin:

1. Lorenzo Cain, RF

2. Omar Infante, 2B

3. Alex Gordon, LF

4. Salvador Perez, C

5. Mike Moustakas, 3B

6. Raul Ibañez, 1B

7. Nori Aoki, DH

8. Alcides Escobar, SS

9. Jarrod Dyson, CF

Yordano Ventura is the starting pitcher

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

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