The initial Royals lineup on Friday afternoon — before third baseman Mike Moustakas was scratched with a nagging thumb injury — featured a rare name for the start of a seven-game road trip.
Christian Colon was set to start at second base, taking the place of Omar Infante. That ultimately changed; Moustakas was forced to miss his third start in four games, and Colon moved to third base while Infante slid back into the lineup at second. But the original lineup, Royals manager Ned Yost said, was part of a concerted effort to get Colon more playing time at second base.
Following a shaky stretch of defense from Infante, Yost said he was searching for ways to get Colon more time, which in turn could keep Infante fresher. Yost said Colon could play “a couple” times per week, then hinted that it could be even more.
“Omar has been in this league 13 years now, or pushing 13 years,” Yost said. “[That is] a lot of wear and tear. [We’re] just trying to find ways to keep him productive. Sometimes less playing time and more recovery time helps him be more productive. So playing four days a week or three days a week is going to keep him stronger and more productive than playing seven days a week, or even playing five days a week.”
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The comments came two days after Infante made an error in the first inning of the Royals’ 13-2 loss to the Nationals on Wednesday. The miscue came on a backhand play up the middle, a play that has given Infante trouble over the last few weeks.
Yost said there was no specific ailment affecting Infante. These days, Yost said, Infante is rarely in the training room. He sticks to a regimented routine. But at age 34, he has shown signs of fatigue.
“We’ll just have to find that balance to keep him strong and healthy,” Yost said. “Because his arm is shortening up; his range is starting to shorten up a little bit. We got to find ways to keep him strong out there.”