Merrifield makes return to center field

Super utility man has two hits including a home run; Flynn goes two scoreless innings

February 26th, 2018

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- As the Royals experiment with numerous position scenarios, it was second baseman/super utility man Whit Merrifield's turn to take a stab at the wide-open center field battle.
Merrifield got just one play in the Royals' 10-6 win over the Giants on Monday, snaring a fly ball to deep center.
"I was expecting more with [Brian] Flynn pitching and [Alex] Gordon in left -- knew I'd have a lot of ground to cover," Merrifield joked.
"Nah, sinkerball pitcher. Not much love."
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Merrifield, 29, had to think hard when asked about the last time he played center field.
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"My first year and a half of pro ball, I was pretty much all center field," he said. "Other than that, maybe a game or two after that.
"I'm going to take a few bad first steps for now, a few bad routes. It will get better through repetition."
Merrifield did enjoy a solid day at the plate. He doubled in the first and hit a two-run home run in the fourth, a high drive over the 360-foot sign in the left-field corner.
"First two at-bats I got beat a little bit, but got a changeup on the barrel against [Derek] Holland and got it out," Merrifield said. "It was offspeed and when you catch it out front, they all go no matter where you play."
Plays that stood out
• First baseman made another nice play Monday as he tries to make the conversion to first base. With the bases loaded in the second inning, Dozier leaped to grab a line drive, then beat the baserunner back to the bag for an inning-ending double play.
• Outfielder , the speedster not on the 40-man but hoping to steal a backup outfielders spot, made a terrific running, lunging catch in left-center to end the eighth.
Camp battles
Left-hander got the start and recorded two scoreless innings. Flynn, who is out of options and is vying for a bullpen spot, worked out of a bases-loaded jam, thanks to Dozier's fine play.
"In Spring Training, you get in a couple of weeks and you might see your ERA is really high and you think, 'Man, I thought I was pitching better than that,'" Flynn said. "This kind of worked the other way."

Another reliever trying to grab a spot is right-hander , whom Yost mentioned in his postgame talk after throwing two scoreless innings while striking out three.
"Really nice job by Barlow," Yost said. "Kept the ball down.
"It's just a psychological thing, in the difference between 1-2 and 2-1."
Injury updates
No reported injuries so far.
Up next
The Royals return to Surprise Stadium on Tuesday at 2:05 p.m. CT as right-hander will get the start. Peralta will be followed by right-hander , left-hander and right-hander , among others.