For the second time in a week, the most oft-used Royals shortstop of the past decade has a new position.
Alcides Escobar was in the Royals’ starting lineup as a third baseman Monday afternoon, with manager Ned Yost giving Mike Moustakas a day off.
It’s the first start Escobar has made at the proverbial hot corner in his life.
“I’ve never played third base — let’s see what happens,” Escobar said. “I’m just going to have fun with it.”
Escobar started in center field Friday against the Houston Astros, snapping his streak of 407 straight starts as the Royals shortstop. He is being shifted around the diamond to accommodate prospect top Adalberto Mondesi, who was called up earlier this month. Mondesi is hitting ninth Monday and playing shortstop.
The plan is to continue to give Mondesi approximately four starts every week, Yost said, with half of those coming at shortstop, his natural position.
“What’s happened in the past is we’ve put him out there on a full-time basis, and he struggles a little bit, and then all of a sudden he’s (down),” Yost said. “For a young guy, it’s hard. I want to make sure we’re not putting too much on him right now — let him get his feet; let him get his confidence; and then we’ll start ramping him up.”
Mondesi hit .185 across 135 at-bats in 2016 and then .170 in 53 at-bats in 2017. He is 3 for 19 (.158) this year with one double.
His presence at shortstop has prompted the Royals to find new landing spots for Escobar. A move to third fits a more obvious transition than one to the outfield, though Escobar spent brief time playing in the outfield in his minor league career with the Milwaukee Brewers.
“He’s got good hands,” Yost said. “You see a bunch of guys be able to switch. ... It’s an easy adjustment — the throw’s a little bit different, (and) the ball comes in a little bit harder. But Esky’s got great hands.”
The 3:15 game Monday is a makeup date with the Angels, sandwiched in the midst of a Royals road trip.