OAKLAND -- Mike Moustakas is playing in his 900th career game on Saturday, and all of them, to this point, had been as a third baseman or designated hitter.But in third game of Royals' four-game set at Oakland Coliseum, Moustakas took the field against the A's as a first baseman
OAKLAND -- Mike Moustakas is playing in his 900th career game on Saturday, and all of them, to this point, had been as a third baseman or designated hitter.
But in third game of Royals' four-game set at Oakland Coliseum, Moustakas took the field against the A's as a first baseman for the first time in his career. It is part of a slew of changes in the lineup for manager Ned Yost, who is looking to spark a Royals club that has lost six straight.
"I didn't have another first baseman," Yost said. "Simple."
Yost said he wanted to play Whit Merrifield at first, but he preferred Merrifield in center field. With Jonathan Jay being dealt earlier this week, Yost is giving multiple players a look in center. He could have also used Hunter Dozier, who played first on Friday, but Dozier is in right field after Jorge Soler fouled a pitch off his foot in Friday's game and needed a day off.
So Moustakas, who Yost said has taken grounders at first, is the only option left.
"He'll be fine," Yost said.
Switching things up
Saturday's lineup looks drastically different from Friday's, after the Royals lost, 7-2, and were held to two or fewer runs for the fifth time in the last eight games. Alcides Escobar, who hit second on Friday, was bumped to sixth. The 3-4-5 hitters were Salvador Perez, Alex Gordon and Dozier, with Dozier sliding up in the lineup due to Soler's absence.
"I just wanted to do something different," Yost said. "I'm tired of losing ballgames, just trying to provide a spark somewhere."
Yost cautioned the changes may not be permanent. He's just hoping to find a lineup that gets back in the win column.
"We're just going day to day right now," Yost said. "There's no master plan."
Duda close to return
Yost said that first baseman Lucas Duda, who was placed on the disabled list on May 14 with right foot plantar fasciitis, is nearing a return, though he might have to go through a rehab stint.
"He looks fine taking grounders," Yost said. "He started doing a little agility stuff yesterday at about 50-60 percent, so looking better, getting closer, feeling better."
Duda is hitting .256 with four home runs and 19 RBIs in 37 games this season.
Eric He is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.