KANSAS CITY -- One of the subtle little battles that went on during Spring Training was the fight for the No. 2 spot in the order between the incumbent, Mike Moustakas, and the challenger, Alex Gordon.But it really wasn't much of a competition.Manager Ned Yost and his staff simply like
KANSAS CITY -- One of the subtle little battles that went on during Spring Training was the fight for the No. 2 spot in the order between the incumbent, Mike Moustakas, and the challenger, Alex Gordon.
But it really wasn't much of a competition.
Manager Ned Yost and his staff simply like the way Moustakas approaches hitting in that spot in the lineup too much to make a change. Moustakas belted the first home run of the season for the Royals in the fourth inning of an eventual 7-0 win over the Twins on Saturday night, while Lorenzo Cain followed with the second blast.
Hitting second for much of last season, Moustakas batted .280 with a .758 OPS in that spot and turned his career around. Moustakas was replaced eventually as the No. 2 hitter in August after the Royals acquired Ben Zobrist, a switch-hitter.
"All the success he had in it last year -- that's why he is hitting second again," Yost said of Moustakas. "He didn't really lose that spot. It's just that Zobrist ended up probably being a better option.
"But it's a good spot for Moose because it utilizes his whole game."
Gordon, too, has had success in the two-hole, hitting .349 in 120 career plate appearances there.
"Anybody can do it, but we like Gordy down in the run-producing spot behind Morales," Yost said.
And Yost believes hitting second draws out the best in Moustakas.
"It plays into his game," Yost said. "He's a baseball player. He likes to play the game. He likes hitting the ball the other way, or bunting. It allows him to play his game instead of just being in a run-producing spot."
Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.