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Yost says Butler needs to find timing at plate

KANSAS CITY -- Billy Butler's season-launching slump caught everyone by surprise, including Royals manager Ned Yost.

Before Friday night's game against the Twins, Yost was asked if he'd seen anything like it from Butler.

"I don't think anybody has, because I don't think he's ever been through it," Yost said. "It's not surprising because he's human. It happens to everybody. He's not a machine.

"He's a top-notch hitter in the American League, but this stuff happens to everybody and you deal with it. It's the first time that Billy's had to work through something like this and it's kind of new to him -- all these feelings. Billy used to roll out of bed and hit. He can still do that, it's just that he got off to a slow start."

Butler came into this season with a .298 career average, but he was at .160 going into the series opener against the Twins. Yost kept him in the sixth lineup spot. He was dropped from the cleanup spot for Thursday's game at Houston.

"When the offense is struggling a little bit and you're the No. 4 hitter where a team really relies on your production, you tend to press a little more," Yost said. "Now, you get moved back into the six-hole, you kind of catch your breath and relax a little bit."

It might be new for Butler, but Yost says every hitter goes through it sooner or later.

"Billy's attitude is great, his work ethic is phenomenal right now," Yost said. "Billy's issue is just mostly timing. Once he gets his timing back, he's going to be in great shape."

In Friday night's 5-0 win over the Twins, Butler preceded Mike Moustakas' home run with a single and he also walked.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for
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