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Moustakas slugs 1st HR since rejoining Royals

Lefty continues hot start to spring; Skoglund battles back; Gordon continues to struggle
Special to MLB.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There was some concern that Mike Moustakas would not get enough at-bats to get his timing down before Spring Training concludes. But after two games, Moustakas has put any anxieties to rest.

Moustakas did not re-sign with the Kansas City Royals until last week and did not play in a game until Friday, when he laced a two-run single against the San Diego Padres as the designated hitter.

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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There was some concern that Mike Moustakas would not get enough at-bats to get his timing down before Spring Training concludes. But after two games, Moustakas has put any anxieties to rest.

Moustakas did not re-sign with the Kansas City Royals until last week and did not play in a game until Friday, when he laced a two-run single against the San Diego Padres as the designated hitter.

View Full Game Coverage

Video: KC@SD: Moustakas on first spring game in big leagues

Moustakas did even better Saturday while playing the field. His one-out single ignited a four-run first inning and he homered to lead off the third in the Royals' 7-6 split-squad victory over the Texas Rangers.

"A really good day for Moose," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It's not taking him long to get his timing back, that's for sure. A good day. He got five innings underneath him defensively and 2-for-3, a homer and a single."

Moustakas drove a 1-0 Bartolo Colon pitch out to right.

"He's been working out some, but to jump right in and face Major League-style pitching is pretty difficult," Yost said. "He's been doing pretty good so far."

Yost said Moustakas would be the designated hitter Sunday against the Angels. After an off-day Monday, Yost said Moustakas would alternate days at third and DH until the club breaks camp.

"Try to get him as many at-bats as we can, see where he's at," Yost said. "I don't think I'm going to have to find a bunch of extra at-bats so far the way we're looking."

Moustakas broke the franchise record for home runs last year, with 38.

Video: TEX@KC: Moose discusses return to Royals, 2018 season

Skoglund shows moxie
Left-hander Eric Skoglund yielded three runs on four hits in the first inning of Saturday's early game, but nothing after that. Skoglund finished with six strikeouts and no walks in four innings. This spring, he has struck out 11 and walked none over 10 2/3 innings.

"I need some adversity -- I think that was a good takeaway from it, and just being able to battle back, I think that's awesome," Skoglund said. "Last year, I'd give up three in the first and then kind of let that snowball. I just wanted to nip that really quick, come back in the second and have a 1-2-3 inning."

Skoglund -- the Royals' No. 8 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline -- retired the final nine batters he faced, striking out five.

"It's tough out here in Arizona -- you have this high sky and some miscues," Skoglund said. "So it's going to happen. I was able to get some weak contact, broke some bats and the defense made some great plays. You have to come out here and put up zeroes. I'm trying to simplify as much as I can and try to get better every single day."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Gordon's spring struggles continue
Alex Gordon went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and two ground outs to drop his average to .103. He is hitless in his last 24 at-bats, going back to March 6. Gordon doubled in his first game on February 24 and does not have another extra-base hit this spring. He has struck out 12 times in 39 at-bats. The 34-year-old five-time Gold Glove Award winner hit .208 last season.

Injury update
Outfielder Paulo Orlando remains sidelined with a strained hamstring.

"He is getting closer," Yost said. "He did a little jogging yesterday and felt it a little bit on the first couple of steps."

Camp battle
Infielder Ryan Goins, who is trying to earn a utility spot, went 1-for-3 with a double. He is hitting .414. Goins started at second base and made two putouts and an assist. Ramon Torres, another utility infield candidate, started at shortstop and went hitless in three at-bats, striking out once, to drop his average to .323. In the field, he had three assists.

Up next
The Royals will host the Angels on Sunday with Danny Duffy starting. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 CT. The game will be broadcast live on MLB.TV and an exclusive audio webcast. Yost has named Duffy his Opening Day starter on March 29 against the White Sox.

Alan Eskew is a contributor to MLB.com who covered the Royals on Saturday.

Kansas City Royals, Ryan Goins, Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, Paulo Orlando, Eric Skoglund, Ramon Torres