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