Trey Hillman Media Session: April 8

With the final game in the series being an early start and last night’s 11-inning game, manager Trey Hillman faced questions about availability of several key pieces.  After attempting a four-out save last night and throwing 32 pitches, Hillman said that closer Joakim Soria’s availability is in question and that no decision will be made until after the first pitch is thrown. Hillman’s preference is not to use Soria for more than three outs in future appearances, but cited that the most important factor is winning ball games.

Another question coming into today’s game is the condition of catcher Jason Kendall following last night’s extra-inning affair.  Hillman said Kendall felt good this morning and that fans could expect to see the veteran catcher often in day games after night games.

The other question mark today was how Hillman’s lineup would look with the Royals’ hitters facing the first left-handed starting pitcher of the 2010 season in Dontrelle Willis.  Hillman had entertained the idea of starting infielder Mike Aviles at second base in place of Chris Getz.  However, Hillman penciled in Getz, saying he has shown excellent consistency in producing quality at bats early in the season.  The final change affected by Willis’ start is the five and six slots in the batting order. Hillman said that the switch with outfielders Rick Ankiel and Jose Guillen will be commonplace when facing a left-handed starting pitcher.

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