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Yost takes opportunity to give Perez breather

KANSAS CITY -- When you have a catcher of Salvador Perez's caliber, there's a temptation to want to play him every day. But Royals manager Ned Yost is resisting that urge, knowing that he's going to need a relatively fresh Perez over the course of a long season. That's why Yost went with Brett Hayes behind the plate for Wednesday's series finale against Houston.

The fact that Hayes has worked well with left-hander Danny Duffy, the starter on Wednesday, factored into Yost's decision.

"It's a win-win," Yost said. "It's a day game after a night game. We're trying to find ways to give Sal some breaks, and Hayes has done a good job with Duffy."

Duffy struggled on the mound in the Royals' 9-3 loss Wednesday, allowing five earned runs over four-plus innings. Hayes broke out of an 0-for-27 hitless streak to start the season with a single in his second at-bat, then hit his first home run of the season, a solo blast in the seventh.

Lorenzo Cain also was out of the starting lineup on Wednesday, with Jarrod Dyson drawing a start in center field. Yost also tweaked the batting order for a struggling offense, with Alex Gordon hitting No. 3 and Eric Hosmer in the No. 5 slot. Shortstop Alcides Escobar moved up to No. 6 in the order.

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to
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