ST. LOUIS -- Royals manager Ned Yost had been toying with the notion of inserting designated hitter Kendrys Morales in right field since last September, when the Royals had a makeup game at Wrigley Field and Yost didn't want to lose Morales' bat in the lineup.That notion never happened last
ST. LOUIS -- Royals manager Ned Yost had been toying with the notion of inserting designated hitter Kendrys Morales in right field since last September, when the Royals had a makeup game at Wrigley Field and Yost didn't want to lose Morales' bat in the lineup.
That notion never happened last season, but it came to fruition in Wednesday night's 3-2 win over the Cardinals in 12 innings at Busch Stadium where Morales made his first start in right field since 2008 when he was with the Angels.
"With Lorenzo [Cain] out [on the disabled list], I couldn't afford missing two of my bats in the lineup," Yost said.
And Morales wasted no time making an impact. Morales caught the first ball that came his way in the first inning off the bat of Jhonny Peralta and made a terrific running catch in the right-center-field alley to take extra bases away from Matt Carpenter in the third inning. Statcast™ had his route efficiency on the play at 96.7 percent, distance covered at 90 feet, and top speed at 16.7 mph.
Morales wound up catching four fly balls without issue.
"I've known since yesterday so I'm OK," Morales said through interpreter Pedro Grifol before the game. "I've been practicing out there in the event something like this would come up. I'm ready.
"Shagging in right field is part of my routine. It's not real practice for this, but it helps in case something like this comes up."
Morales had played in 18 Major League games in right field, had 19 chances, and 19 putouts entering Wednesday night.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.