Kendrys Morales will play right field and hit third in the lineup for the Royals Wednesday night against the St. Louis Cardinals. Manager Ned Yost had hinted that the reigning Silver Slugger Award winner for designated hitter could find time in the outfield in National League parks after he impressed coaches with his defense in practice.
"People underestimate his athletic ability," Yost said before Tuesday's 8-4 loss to the Cardinals. "But he can move around."
Coach Rusty Kuntz agreed.
"I'm hitting balls and he's zipping toward everything -- balls in the gap, balls in the corner, over his head," Kuntz said. "I couldn't believe it. He's not Lorenzo Cain, but he's better than decent."
The Royals considered having Morales play right field last September in their makeup game against the Cubs in Wrigley Field, but opted not to start him there. Kendrys Morales has played 18 games in right field in his Major League career, the last coming in 2008, when he played for the Angels.
Morales has been a red-hot bat for the Royals, hitting .426/.486/.689 with 4 HR in his last 17 games. The Royals could have played Eric Hosmer in right field, where he has played five games in his career, but Ned Yost was perhaps wary of downgrading at two positions - right field and first base - rather than just one.
The Royals will start Jarrod Dyson in centerfield with Alex Gordon in left. Paulo Orlando and Brett Eibner are available to play the outfield off the bench, as well as Whit Merrified, who is being given the night off.