Royals revise lineup; Guillen plays
Injured outfielder performs through pain as top five hitters shift
KANSAS CITY -- Royals manager Trey Hillman gave his lineup a rousing shakeup for Friday night with one open question: Would Jose Guillen be in it?
Guillen took batting practice to test his ailing right shoulder. How did that go?
"No good," Guillen said.
So it was still stiff and sore and all that?
"Yeah," Guillen replied. "I'm going to try to play."
Well, sure, why not? Guillen had three straight hits on Wednesday night before he suffered a stinger in his shoulder and had to be taken out of the game against the Angels. He missed Thursday night's series opener against the Orioles.
"It felt a little better today," he said before Friday night's game, "but I still feel a tightness in there. But we've got to do our best, boss."
So Guillen was still listed in the sixth hole, but the order above him had a new look as Hillman sought to inject some sustained life into the American League's lowest-scoring offense.
David DeJesus was still leading off but Mark Teahen was moved to second. Alex Gordon remained third but Miguel Olivo, the backup catcher, was inserted into the cleanup spot as the designated hitter. Mark Grudzielanek, usually No. 2, instead batted fifth.
"Mark Teahen uses that 4-3 hole [between second and first] pretty well on occasion, so I'm just going to change it up and see where it sits," Hillman said. "We've got to do something. I'm going to keep massaging it and keep changing it up until we can hopefully get some consistency."
The Royals matched a season high with nine runs on Wednesday night when Grudzielanek and Guillen each had three hits, then lapsed into more familiar territory with one run in Thursday night's loss to the Orioles.
"Gruddy gives us pretty good at-bats. We put him in a situation where he might be able to drive some guys in and he's all for that," Hillman said.
Grudzielanek had just four RBIs in the second spot. Olivo, despite part-time play, shared the club home run lead of four with Gordon.
Teahen was asked how many times he'd batted in the second spot.
"I think right around zero," he said. "So I might have to mix in a bunt or two today and create some stuff so I'm OK with that."
Something is needed to energize the Royals' offense.
"We're only two to three games out of a division lead, and still in a race, and several games below .500," Hillman pointed out.
As for Guillen, he was very anxious to improve the .185 average that would be gleaming conspicuously on the giant scoreboard when he came to bat.
"I'm tired of seeing that 1-something there," Guillen said. "I'm tired of hearing the fans boo, too."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.