Hosmer, dropped in lineup, enjoys two-hit day
Eric Hosmer's prolonged struggles at the plate have again led to him being dropped in the batting order.
Manager Ned Yost moved Hosmer from the third slot to the sixth slot Thursday.
"It's just that simple as that," Yost said of trying to take some pressure off Hosmer. "He's battling through a lot of different things. Some of it is mechanics. Some of it is a little bit of confidence. Some of it's a little bit of pressure he's putting on himself to produce in that three hole. We'll take that away from him and put him down in the order a little bit and get him going."
Hosmer went 0-for-5 Wednesday night and entered Thursday 2-for-22 (.091) with one RBI since the All-Star break. Hosmer singled, doubled and scored the only Royals' run Thursday in a 6-1 loss to the Mariners.
"There's no doubt this guy is going to be an All-Star caliber player," Yost said. "We just have to get him through all this.
"I'm just trying to put him in a position where the weight of the world is not on his shoulders hitting in the three spot."
C Jason Kendall signed a minor league contract with the Royals and was assigned to Class AA Northwest Arkansas, where he will start Friday. Kendall has had two shoulder surgeries since he last appeared in a game on Aug. 30, 2010, with Kansas City. Kendall has been working out with the Royals since spring training.
LHP Will Smith threw a career-high 6 1/3 innings and struck out a career-high five in a 6-1 loss to the Mariners in his fourth big league start. He allowed four runs on eight hits, including a home run. "He looked OK," manager Ned Yost said. "He had a bit of a bumpy second inning, and he made a mistake to Jesus Montero, hung a curve on the homer. He looked better than his first time out."
Smith had been called up from Class AAA Omaha before the game to make the start.
LF Alex Gordon singled in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to nine games. He is hitting .474 (18-for-38) during the streak.
RHP Luke Hochevar, who starts Friday against the Twins, has a 1.99 ERA in his 10 starts with a victory or no-decision. He has a 10.21 ERA in his eight losses.
RHP Vin Mazzaro was optioned to Class AAA Omaha to make roster space for RHP Will Smith, who was called up to start Thursday against the Mariners. Mazzaro is 3-3 with a 6.12 ERA in nine games, including six starts, in three stints this season with the Royals.
5 Consecutive series the Royals have lost.
"It's just giving him an opportunity to see where he's at. He doesn't know if he can do it. He feels good. He's working hard. He's taking his rehab to a point where he feels like he can play, so he's going to go give it a shot." Manager Ned Yost, on C Jason Kendall, 38, who is attempting a comeback after two major shoulder operations. Kendall last played in the majors 23 months ago.