Royals 6, Rangers 1
Kansas City’s Billy Butler has been heeding the advice of his
manager Ned Yost.
Butler hit a two-run home run with two outs in the first inning
and the Royals defeated the Texas Rangers 6-1 in the exhibition
opener for both clubs on Sunday.
Yost does not care if Butler sacrifices a few points off his
batting average to drive in more runs.
”That’s a fair judgment,” Yost said. ”I think it was more of
a mindset adjustment more than anything else. He’s got the power
and the ability to do it. He’s such a good hitter at times he would
just focus early in the at-bat in putting the ball in play.”
After hitting .318 with 78 RBIs in 2010, Butler’s average
dropped to .291 last year, but he drove in 95 runs.
”I want him to adopt to more of a haymaker approach early in
the at-bat and then get two strikes and do what he does best, put
the ball in play,” Yost said.
”I do think he’s a total hitter. I think he’s a run producer, a
power hitter and an (high) average hitter. I think the last year
the second half he did a really, really good job with that
After the All-Star break last season, Butler hit 13 of his 19
home runs, while driving in 57 runs, which tied for the third-most
RBIs in the majors. He also hit 24 doubles after the break, which
ranked fourth in the majors.
Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis got ahead of Butler 0-2 when he
drove the next pitch out to left-center with Johnny Giavotella
”I wasn’t looking for a home run,” Butler said. ”Obviously, I
got the barrel on it and got a good result. Usually, you’re chasing
something or hitting their pitch on 0-2 and I just didn’t miss
Butler noted the Royals beat the team that won the past two
American League pennants.
”It’s definitely a good judge of where you’re at as a team,”
Butler said. ”I don’t care if it’s Day 1 or not. Those guys over
there are as talented as they come. That’s the best team in the
American League until somebody knocks them off.”
Luis Mendoza, who is vying for a rotation slot, and four Kansas
City relievers limited the Rangers to four singles and a Mitch
Moreland home run.
”I got 2-0, in a hitter’s count,” Moreland said. ”The main
thing I did was I saw some pitches and I was able to work the
pitcher a little bit better than what I did toward the end of the
year last year.”
Moreland hit .241 with five home runs after the All-Star break
last year. He said ”there weren’t many” swings the second half of
last season like he had in the fifth.
The Royals broke the game open with a four-run fifth off
left-hander Michael Kirkman. Lorenzo Cain, who went 2 for 2, led
off the inning with a double. Ian Kinsler committed his second
error of the game to make one run unearned.
Notes: With C Manny Pina out after having knee surgery in
February, the Royals have added Cs Ryan Eigsti and Ben Theriot from
minor league camp for the first couple of weeks of exhibition
games. … Texas 1B-OF Brad Hawpe is out with right hamstring
soreness. … The announced attendance of 7,158 was a record for an
exhibition opener at Surprise Stadium, which is beginning its 10th