Major League Baseball
Royals don't bemoan Butler's switch from DH to PH in SF
Major League Baseball

Royals don't bemoan Butler's switch from DH to PH in SF

Published Oct. 23, 2014 12:03 p.m. ET

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After all the debate and controversy during early September when Royals slugger Billy Butler was suddenly benched, he finally got his job back with a little over a week left in the regular season. And he has held onto his job every game since, a total of 18 consecutive starts, including the playoffs.

But that streak will come to an end Friday when the Royals visit San Francisco for Game 3 of the World Series — through no fault of Butler's, of course. The teams now will play by National League rules.

Butler will be relegated to pinch-hit duty for the next three games — though he could start Game 5 at first base if manager Ned Yost opts to play the right-handed slugger instead of Eric Hosmer vs. possible San Francisco lefty starter Madison Bumgarner.

"It's not a disappointment at all," Butler said. "It's just the different rules. I'll be prepared for whatever the team needs, and hopefully, I'll come up in a big situation and contribute in a way.


"A lot of times in the National League you empty out your bench, obviously, more than you do in the American League. So the bench plays a vital part, and whoever has the better and deeper bench, I think is going to make a difference. I plan on helping."

Yost said he looks forward to the National League style of play.

"I don't really look at it as an advantage or disadvantage," Yost said. "But I think that in the National League rules to have a bat like Billy Butler's on the bench coming in a situation, it could be the fourth inning, it could be the fifth inning or the sixth inning with guys in scoring position — that could be the difference in the game, having him."

Check out these images from the Royals' 7-2 win over the Giants in Game 2.

Butler prides himself in being a hitter always ready to come into the game. Over his career he is 11 for 36 (.306) pinch hitting with a .432 on-base percentage.

This year, Butler is 4 for 6 as a pinch hitter, including a monster two-run home run at Kauffman Stadium on July 25 that turned out to be the game-winner against Cleveland. That ball traveled 433 feet and nearly hit the Royals Hall of Fame building.

Butler also hit a memorable home run off then-Cardinals closer Jason Motte in 2012, a ninth-inning blast that tied the score and allowed the Royals to win in extra innings.

"I've had pretty good success in my career as a pinch hitter," Butler said. "My job every day as the DH is basically like four pinch-€‘hits. I basically treat it as that.

"Granted, if you have one pinch-hit that day, you have to wait a little bit longer for your next one. But usually, it's in a big situation. Usually, it's in a situation where it can decide the outcome of the game.

"And if it doesn't work out, which pinch-€‘hitting odds aren't in your favor, you've just got to go up there and try to put a good at-bat together. And you just have to have a short memory and look for your next opportunity."

You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at


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