Ned Yost media session: July 22

Prior to opening up a three-game series vs. the Tampa Bay Rays with tonight’s 7:10 contest, Royals manager Ned Yost discussed the lineup switch between first baseman Eric Hosmer and left fielder Jeff Francoeur. Hosmer will be batting fourth in the lineup and Francoeur will bat fifth. Yost said that he simply wanted to separate left-handed and right-handed hitters to make it difficult on Tampa Bay’s bullpen that sports three left-handed relievers in Cesar Ramos, Jake McGee, and J.P. Howell.

“You can set your lineup depending on a starting pitcher anyway you want but it’s the depth that they have in the bullpen with their lefty relievers, we’re just trying to make it a little more difficult,” Yost said.

Yost explained that veterans Billy Butler, Jeff Francoeur, and Matt Treanor are great hitters to place in between rookies such as Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas within the lineup. The Royals skipper commented that he wants the squad’s rookies to face left-handed pitching to help develop their hitting while giving the Royals squad protection with their veterans in the batting order.

“It doesn’t have anything to do with if he [Eric Hosmer] is hitting this week, is he hitting better today, is he hitting better tomorrow. I think he can hit, I think he can hit left-handed pitching,” Yost said. “I think Moose [Mike Moustakas] is going to be able to hit left-handed pitching really, really well. It’s just the protection issue around those guys.”

When it comes to the recently recalled infielder Mike Aviles from Triple-A Omaha, Yost says he sees Aviles as a utility player. Aviles will be used in various infielder positions and pinch hit and run situations. Yost praised Aviles for his versatility and good instincts on the bases and looks forward to giving infielders Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Chris Getz resting days throughout the season and placing Aviles in the lineup.  Yost mentioned Aviles will probably get the start this Sunday at shortstop to give Escobar a day off in the sweltering heat.

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