Ned Yost media session: July 16
The batting order was the first topic of discussion when manager Ned Yost met with the media this afternoon. One reporter asked about Salvador Perez’s spot in the order, which is ninth today and has been towards the bottom since returning from the disabled list. Sal has been hitting well since coming back and the reporter asked why he is still consistently towards the bottom of the order. Yost said he doesn’t necessarily want to keep Sal at the bottom of the batting order, but with the way other guys are playing and who has the other spots, the nine-hole is the only one open at the moment. Yost said Lorenzo Cain is swinging the bat really well so the fifth spot is taken. Alex Gordon has the number one spot and has been very productive there. Alcides Escobar has done a very nice job in the second spot and that is where they want to see him long term. They envision Eric Hosmer in the three-hole long term as well although he is struggling at the moment. Yost said he (Hosmer) has to get accustomed to that spot and role because he feels he can be a three-hole hitter for the rest of the year. He continued by saying Billy Butler is fourth therefore that spot is also taken and Mike Moustakas has been doing great all season in the sixth spot so they are not going to put Sal there either. In the seventh spot they have Jeff Francoeur and then Yuniesky Betancourt in the eighth spot. Yost then said that only leaves one spot, the nine-hole, and that is where Sal is for the moment.
The question about whether or not Frenchy should stay in the seventh spot or not because of his struggles this season arose next. Yost said he is kind of a streaky hitter, but since the All-Star break ended he has swung the bat very well and he is not going to move him from that spot in the lineup right now. Yost said he envisions Sal hitting towards the middle of the order in the future, but right now they need production everywhere and they have been getting very good production out of the number nine spot all year long and having Sal down there should only keep that going. He went on to say that with Sal down there he can drive in the sixth, seventh or eighth place hitters or get on base for the top of the order as well, so it is a good fit. Yost then said eventually he thinks Sal will move up in the order, but right now they have him hitting in the ninth spot and that is probably where he is going to stay for a while.
Jonathan Sanchez was the next topic and one reporter asked what will make him successful in tonight’s start. Yost replied that he has to throw strikes and he has to keep his pitches in the zone while moving them around a bit. He said if Sanchez can command his fastball and stay in the zone he will be successful. Yost said nearly all year long his secondary pitches, such as his slider and split-finger fastball have been effective for him, so he just needs to locate his fastball. He went on to say he wants Sanchez to be productive and he thinks he will be tonight. He said he did it in Detroit in his last start and he is looking for another good one tonight.