Ned Yost announced his Opening Day lineup for Thursday against the White Sox, with the big news being that Salvador Perez will not start, due to an MCL tear he suffered while carrying his luggage. Drew Butera will start in his place, the first time Salvy will miss Opening Day since 2012, when Brayan Pena started in his place when Salvy missed the beginning of the season with a knee injury.
Interestingly, Alex Gordon will begin the year in centerfield, a position he has excelled at in very limited time, but in which he does not have much experience in. Jon Jay starts in left with Jorge Soler in right, as coaches have marveled at his much-improved defense in spring training. Here is the complete lineup
LF Jon Jay (L)
2B Whit Merrifield (R)
3B Mike Moustakas (L)
1B Lucas Duda (L)
DH Cheslor Cuthbert (R)
RF Jorge Soler (R)
CF Alex Gordon (L)
SS Alcides Escobar (R)
C Drew Butera (R)
Jon Jay has been a solid leadoff hitter with a career .355 on-base percentage. Ned Yost departs from his usual practice of separating lefties in the lineup by having Moustakas and Duda go back-to-back. Cuthbert gets the Opening Day assignment at DH with Soler in right and Paulo Orlando on the bench, as the Royals try to deal with the suspension of Jorge Bonifacio. Soler will be the sixth Opening Day right fielder in six years (Jeff Francoeur, Nori Aoki, Alex Rios, Reymond Fuentes, and Orlando being the others).
Danny Duffy will take to the mound against White Sox starter, and former Royals pitcher, James Shields.
The White Sox, for their part, set their roster today. The Royals have not yet announced their finalized roster, and have until tomorrow morning to announce their starting 25.