Hunter Dozier’s unintentionally long audition at first base in place of the injured Lucas Duda has gone according to plan for the Royals.
Since joining the 25-man roster on May 14, Dozier has started 11 games and handled the position without cause for concern.
Cheslor Cuthbert was supposed to play the majority of the time at first base as Duda recovered from plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
But Cuthbert has been sidelined because of a strained back since Dozier arrived at Kauffman Stadium in time for the first game of a three-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays.
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Primarily a third baseman, he’d played only 16 games at first throughout his minor-league career and just four times at Class AAA Omaha this season prior to receiving a major-league call-up for the first time since late 2016.
Yet his lack of experience at first base did not deter the Royals from tasking Dozier, the Royals' first-round pick in the 2013 draft, with learning the position in Surprise, Ariz., during spring training.
“He’s looked much better,” Royals manager Ned Yost said following Sunday’s 5-3 win over the Rangers at Globe Life Park. “He is getting more comfortable over there.”
Dozier has also looked more comfortable at the plate in the last week. After starting his tenure with the Royals 3 for 17 with two walks and four strikeouts, Dozier has gone 8 for 23 (.347) with two doubles, two RBI and a pair of walks. He recorded three straight multi-hit games at Globe Life Park, which is about a 45-minute drive from where he grew up in Denton.
“This is a dream come true. I grew up going to these games,” said Dozier, whose on-base percentage increased to .341 in 13 major-league games this season. “This is kind of where it all started, so it was cool to make this trip, see the family, stay at home. It was an awesome time.”