Gross(est) covered this a bit in her report on FanFest (so officially, you READ IT HERE FIRST!!!!) but the Star gives us the official lineup from Ned Yost that the Royals plan to use this year. It is:
LF Scott Podsednik
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
Oops, sorry, old habits die hard. The 2014 lineup is:
RF Norichika Aoki
2B Omar Infante
1B Eric Hosmer
DH Billy Butler
LF Alex Gordon
CF Lorenzo Cain
Ned is just tickled that it gives him the left/right sequence he lives life for, although you'd think that would be less important considering Aoki doesn't have much of a split, and the left-handed hitting Alex Gordon is as good (or better) against lefties than the right-handed hitting Omar Infante.
"You're not going to have any dead spots," Yost said. "You're not going to get something going, then bam! You run into a wall and have to get it going again. At least I hope not."
Easy there Emeril.
Dick Kaegel gets a few more quotes in this MLB.com piece:
Gordo is a middle-of-the-order bat. He drives the ball, he drives in runs; he'll hit home runs with guys on base. What was he, first in franchise history with leadoff homers?" Butler said, referring to Gordon's 13 game-starting blasts. "We'd like to have those with runners on base, and he'll have the opportunity where he's at in the lineup now."
Yes, you score more runs by getting the guys who are good at getting on base in the middle of your lineup! To be honest, Gordon doesn't sound so thrilled:
"If you'd ask me where I'd rather hit, it'd be the three-hole, but obviously we have a three-hole hitter [Hosmer] right now," Gordon said. "I think Ned will work with some things in Spring Training, and we'll go from there. But wherever he slots me, it really doesn't matter."
I guess I wouldn't be so thrilled either if my reward for being one of the better hitters in the lineup was dropping four spots in the lineup.
Still, while its not the optimal lineup, this lineup looks like an improvement over last year's starting nine, especially if Moose isn't god awful this year. Aoki and Infante are both high contact guys who can get on-base a little, a vast improvement over hitting Alcides Escobar in the two-hole. The Royals scored just 648 runs last year, fifth worst in the league. With the pitching undoubtedly set to regress a bit this year, they'll need that lineup to score a lot more runs if they want to compete for a playoff spot.