Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Moustakas Moving Up in Order

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Moustakas Moving Up in Order

Article excerpt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A manager's lineup card is usually a hot- button topic, especially if it's Ned Yost's.

All offseason and during spring training, the Royals manager contemplated who to hit in the two-hole behind shortstop Alcides Escobar.

For a time, Alex Gordon, Alex Rios, Eric Hosmer, Omar Infante and Lorenzo Cain were all possibilities. But during the final few days of spring training, Yost came to the conclusion third baseman Mike Moustakas would be a "perfect fit." So Moustakas will be penciled in behind Escobar for Monday's 3:10 p.m. opening day game against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium.

"This little confidence boost, to go along with all the effort and the hard work that he put forth, it's something that could carry him through the first half of the season offensively," Yost said. "We're just really proud of the work that he's put in trying to beat the shift, staying back and bunting when he needed to. I just think right now he's swinging as good as anybody."

In his career, Moustakas has batted second just one time. But there is perhaps a little bit of psychology at work here, too. Though Moustakas had a brilliant postseason last year, he has struggled for much of his career, and Yost is trying to build up Moustakas' confidence similar to what he did with Gordon during his first spring training with the Royals in 2011.

Yost moved Gordon, who was then a struggling hitter himself, to the three-hole. It paid off in a big way.

"Out of nowhere I put him in the three-hole and gave him that extra bit of confidence. He went on to hit .300 with 45 doubles and had a monster year. So when you're looking at the spring that Moose had ... same thing with Moose."

Moustakas, who is a career .236 hitter with a .290 on-base percentage, is looking forward to the switch. …

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