Royals finding ways to get Gathright in
Outfielder's steady play earns him seventh straight start
MIAMI -- Joey Gathright was in the Royals' starting lineup for the seventh straight game on Saturday night. Not bad duty for a guy classified as the fourth outfielder.
Gathright's latest entry into the lineup came when Jose Guillen's injury caused him to shift from left field to designated hitter. Gathright played center field with David DeJesus shifting to left.
His play, while not spectacular, was steady. In the six games prior to Saturday's encounter with the Marlins, Gathright was 5-for-20 with four runs, five RBIs and two stolen bases. He also made some excellent running catches in center field.
The latter reason was why manager Trey Hillman had Gathright in center field when Brian Bannister faced the Marlins. Hillman correctly guessed that Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez would stack his lineup with left-handed batters.
"That gives us more speed in that area of the field," Hillman said. "If you don't play defense behind Banny, he's not typically going to strike out a lot of guys. They've got some thunder -- and if we don't shut down that thunder and doing some things defensively, not only routinely but maybe with some nice running catches, the percentages say you're not going to win."
Hillman also had DeJesus, who sat out the previous two games, in right field instead of Mark Teahen. Hillman noted that Teahen had trouble with left-handers on Friday night and with lefty Scott Olsen going, Hillman decided a night off was in order.
This was just DeJesus' second start in right field.
"No hesitation -- I told David about it and he's got a great attitude about moving around," Hillman said. "He said, 'Whatever you need,'"
Guillen was back in left field on his 32nd birthday, able to play despite a cranky right hip.
And Gathright was geared up again, casting aside the disappointment of popping up two bunt attempts on Friday night.
"I'm seeing the ball well and I'm getting good pitches," Gathright said. "I'm 3-2, 2-2 a lot, I'm just not getting the results that I want at the end. I've just got to find a way to get on base. That's my main goal, that's my only goal.
"Yesterday was terrible, though. I can admit that. That was terrible bunting by me. But it's coming along, I'm not worried about my bunting game."
Gathright entered the game with a .245 average and 10 stolen bases in 12 attempts.
"If I get on, I'm going to go. I've just got to get on, that's the hard part," he said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.