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Merrifield makes return to center field

Super utility man has two hits including a home run; Flynn goes two scoreless innings
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

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.

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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.

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"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 Hunter Dozier 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 Terrance Gore, 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 Brian Flynn 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."

Video: Flynn on holding the Giants scoreless in Royals' win

Another reliever trying to grab a spot is right-hander Scott Barlow, 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 Wily Peralta will get the start. Peralta will be followed by right-hander Kelvin Herrera, left-hander Eric Stout and right-hander Kevin McCarthy, among others.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

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