Yost mulling lineup changes to spark offense
Royals entered Wednesday's contest 12th among AL teams in runs scored
BALTIMORE -- The Royals' offense hasn't been quite as productive as manager Ned Yost had expected and he's pondering some lineup revisions that might help.
"I've got a lot of confidence in this offense. You just have to wait it out. I'm looking at different scenarios," Yost said.
For Wednesday night's game against the Orioles, he took slumping Jeff Francoeur (1-for-16) out of the lineup, moved Lorenzo Cain to right field and brought Jarrod Dyson off the bench to play center field.
Cain, ranking sixth among American League batters, has been among the Royals' most productive hitters. Dyson, in addition to possessing great speed, was hitting .300 in a reserve role.
Yost also had Elliot Johnson, in a 5-for-10 spurt, back at second base and used George Kottaras at catcher to give Salvador Perez a break. Mike Moustakas was back at third base after Miguel Tejada gave him a night off.
"For the first time, at least in my mind anyway, I've got guys on the bench that are really good players that need to be involved more, too," Yost said. "Dyson, Johnson, Tejada, Kottaras -- they're all good players. So I need to juggle it and keep everybody going, everybody involved."
Going into the second game at Baltimore, leadoff batter Alex Gordon was leading the Royals with 22 RBIs and four home runs, so Yost was mulling a change for him.
"I'm thinking about maybe putting Alex back into [No.] 3. And I'm just trying to look at it and see what benefits us the best," Yost said.
That likely would mean moving Billy Butler into the fourth spot and Eric Hosmer fifth. And who'd lead off? Yost mentioned Alcides Escobar, Cain and Dyson as possibilities. But don't write down any lineups just yet.
"I've got about nine different scenarios I'm looking at," Yost said. "I'm not big on changing the lineup from day to day. You've got to have some movable parts, but the least amount of movable parts the better for me."
So far this year Gordon has batted first and Escobar second in every game and Butler has been third in every game but two (in National League cities where there's no designated hitter). Hosmer has batted fourth most often.
"I'm talking to the coaches, thinking it through," Yost said. "I don't want to do anything rash. That's the last thing you want to do -- is do something in a hurry just to do it. It's something that's got to be well thought out."
The Royals ranked third in AL team average, but 12th in runs scored.
"We're playing good baseball and the offense has been fine," Yost said. "Do we want more offense? Sure we do, everybody wants more offense, but I've got a bunch of confidence in this offensive unit and I think they're going to score a bunch of runs."
VanBuskirk named KC's Honorary Bat Girl
BALTIMORE -- Kelly VanBuskirk of Broken Arrow, Okla., is the winner of the Honorary Bat Girl Contest for the Royals.
VanBuskirk will be acknowledged on Mother's Day prior to Sunday's Royals-Yankees game. She and her young son, an avid Royals fan, will meet left fielder Alex Gordon, a member of the national judging panel.
VanBuskirk was selected as one of 30 baseball fans, one for each Major League club, who have been affected by breast cancer and demonstrate a commitment to eradicating the disease.
In 2009, a pregnant VanBuskirk, 35, lost her father and was then informed she carried the BRCA gene, which is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Later that year, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy, hysterectomy and chemotherapy. She had her last surgery in September 2011 and now participates in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure events to bring awareness to the disease.
In her nomination, VanBuskirk wrote: "I might have lost parts of me, but I did not lose this fight. Today, I am a better me, a better mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend. Today, I am a SURVIVOR."
On Sunday, the Royals and other teams will wear pink ribbons on their jerseys and some players will use Louisville Slugger pink bats, which will be auctioned exclusively on MLB.com to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer.
The Royals will have a pregame ceremony to celebrate breast cancer survivors and, outside the Royals Charities store, hold a silent auction featuring bases from the game and other pink items. There will also be a Susan G. Komen for the Cure donation table where shirts and pink bracelets will be distributed.
The Royals offer a special ticket package for Komen supporters. Visit www.royals.com/komenkansascity for information.
Guthrie geared for return to Camden Yards
BALTIMORE -- Jeremy Guthrie pitched five years for the Orioles, but has never pitched against them. That's scheduled to change on Thursday night when he's the Royals' starter in the series finale at Camden Yards.
"It'll be fun, it'll be exciting to go out there and compete. Two good teams right now that are playing good baseball," Guthrie said. "I think it's one of the greatest parks to pitch in. It's a great park, fans are good, it's obviously beautiful. It'll be fun to be back out there and on the mound and compete against guys that are former teammates and friends."
Guthrie pitched 80 times at Camden Yards -- amassing a 22-34 record and a 4.25 ERA.
"It's very standard, just like any other ballpark. Nice mound, good dirt," he said.
Despite his familiarity with the park, Guthrie's been away for more than a year and he wanted to check out the mound as he does everywhere he pitches. For two days, though, rain has thwarted him.
"I would like to do that here, but they haven't had that tarp off in two days," he said. "We'll see when I get a chance, maybe [Thursday]."
What kind of reaction might Guthrie get from the Baltimore fans?
"Certainly I wouldn't expect any loud ovation or anything. I never saw that when I was here with former Orioles nor would I expect one for myself," he said. "But the fans have been great, the fans have been very warm, whether it's on Twitter or just out in the streets or out in the stands. They've been great to me and I wouldn't expect anything different."
Strangely enough, his first start against Baltimore comes just one day after the sixth anniversary of his first Major League victory as a starter -- on May 8, 2007 -- when he beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 8-3, at Camden Yards.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.