From leadoff, Aviles awakens bats
Royals ring up record number of hits in weekend series
KANSAS CITY -- So far, Mike Aviles' time at the leadoff spot has been full of wins, awards and plenty of hits.
Monday was Aviles' third straight game at the No. 1 spot in place of injured David DeJesus. On Saturday and Sunday, Aviles went 7-for-9 with two runs scored, three RBIs and a home run. He also earned the American League co-Player of the Week award.
"You lead off the first AB of the game," Aviles said, "and then when you think about it, everybody is the same. You just go around in the order. It's the same thing as any other time."
It hasn't just been about Aviles, either. Leadoff hitters are supposed to set the table and spark the team. It's safe to say he's done that, considering Kansas City has won both games while he's led off and accumulated 38 hits, the largest total for consecutive games in franchise history.
Still, Aviles likely won't keep batting at the top of the order when DeJesus returns. Manager Trey Hillman said Aviles is leading off out of necessity, and that he isn't a prototypical leadoff hitter.
Aviles has walked only eight times in 209 at-bats and has average speed, evident from his three stolen bases, the same amount as catcher Miguel Olivo. Those statistics certainly don't fit a typical No. 1 hitter.
But in other areas, Aviles is doing what leadoff batters should. He's winning, and providing a spark. It's something that Hillman has noticed since Aviles arrived in late May, something he's seen even when Aviles isn't in the leadoff spot.
"He's got a grinding type of demeanor," Hillman said. "He's going to continue to grind."
Whether that's at the top of the order, or somewhere else.
"You don't have to have prototypical players in all your spots," Hillman said. "We'll hit him wherever we think it's the best matchup for our team to be successful."
Mark Dent is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.