Royals’ Hamilton getting lay of the land at The K now; plus, a Duffy update and more

Royals’ Ned Yost says he doesn’t want to pigeonhole Terrance Gore

Royals manager Ned Yost talks about speedster Terrance Gore getting his first start in the outfield and his development as a player. Yost spoke in the dugout at Kauffman Stadium prior to a game against the Seattle Mariners on April 10, 2019.
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Royals manager Ned Yost talks about speedster Terrance Gore getting his first start in the outfield and his development as a player. Yost spoke in the dugout at Kauffman Stadium prior to a game against the Seattle Mariners on April 10, 2019.

Billy Hamilton hasn’t even spent half a season in Kauffman Stadium yet, but he’s been in the outfield enough to spot an opportunity in the making.

Hamilton pointed to his knowledge of the outfield as the factor that allowed him to tag up and score from second base in the third inning on Tuesday night. Hamilton, who will bat second for the Royals on Wednesday, also registered his first RBI of the season in that game.

Hamilton said he actually made the decision to round third and try to score as soon as he noticed Seattle Mariners center fielder Mallex Smith running away from the infield.

“He was running backwards,” Hamilton said. “As an outfielder, I know if you’re running backwards it’s not easy to catch the ball, stop real fast and throw it hard to your cut-off man. You’ve got to gain you’re balance and everything. I knew I had a chance with him running backwards, but when he fell it made it a little easier for me to make that decision.”

Mallex also went down to a knee in the process of making the catch. That was all Hamilton needed to score without the play being all that close at home plate.

“I mean, different story if he may have been camped under it, but he was running backwards,” Hamilton said. “As a player you can actually read stuff like that, and then he ended up falling a little bit. (Third base coach Mike Jirschele) was sending me the whole time. I came back and told him, ‘Man, I didn’t see you anyway. I was going.’ I wasn’t going to stop anyway, for sure.”

Royals manager Ned Yost served as the Atlanta Braves’ third base coach under Bobby Cox from 1999 to 2002, and he recalled being part of similar plays several times.

“I think we did that like six times in Atlanta in four years,” Yost said. “The runner gives you the opportunity to do it by not taking for granted that you’re going to hold him up at third base. That was all on Billy. He wasn’t watching the play. He was hauling. Billy never slowed down a beat. Those types of plays are possible when you got somebody that doesn’t take for granted, we’re just stopping at third base.”

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Duffy update: Yost said left-hander Danny Duffy pitched Wednesday in extended spring as previously scheduled. His next outing is scheduled for Monday, and he’s expected to throw 60 to 65 pitches.

Outfielder Terrance Gore got his first hit as a member of the Royals earlier in the week as a substitute off the bench, and then found himself in the starting lineup at left field on Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners at Kauffman Stadium.

Gore not Gordon: Outfielder Terrance Gore will start in left field on Wednesday as Alex Gordon gets his first day off of the season.

Gore collected his first hit with the Royal earlier this week in the ninth inning of Monday night’s 13-5 loss to the Mariners. Gore’s first major-league hit came in the National League as a member of the Chicago Cubs.

Gordon is batting .313 with team highs in RBI (10), walks (six), and home runs (two).

Familiar pairing: Cam Gallagher starts at catcher on Wednesday night in part because of schedule and in part because of the familiarity with starting pitcher Heath Fillmyer. Fillmyer will make his first start of the season on Wednesday. He and Gallagher both began the 2018 season at Triple-A Omaha before each finished the season with the Royals. With a day game coming after night game, Yost picked Wednesday night as the on to give starting catcher Martin Maldonado the night off and pair Gallagher with Fillmyer.

Wednesday’s lineup

1. Whit Merrifield, rf

2. Billy Hamilton, cf

3. Adalberto Mondesi, ss

4. Jorge Soler, dh

5. Frank Schwindel, 1b

6. Chris Owings, 2b

7. Hunter Dozier, 3b

8. Cam Gallagher, c

9. Terrance Gore, lf

Starting pitcher: Heath Fillmyer (rh, 0-0, 0.00)

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Lynn Worthy covers the Kansas City Royals and Major League Baseball for The Star. A native of the Northeast, he’s covered high school, collegiate and professional sports for The Lowell Sun, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, Allentown Morning Call and The Salt Lake Tribune. He’s won awards for sports features and sports columns.