ARLINGTON -- Sean O'Sullivan has made two successful starts for the Royals, so why is manager Ned Yost skipping him in the next turn of the rotation?
Yost has that option because of Monday's open date and decided to delay O'Sullivan's next start until Saturday against Minnesota.
"I like to get my guys through the first month on a regular rotation," Yost said. "I like to keep the first four starters in a five-man [schedule], it keeps them sharper the first month. They're all healthy, they're all strong. I try to sharpen them up as much as I can. Then I look at the second month and give them days here and there. But the more they pitch, the sharper they're going to be."
So Luke Hochevar will pitch on Tuesday at Cleveland, followed by Jeff Francis on Wednesday and Kyle Davies on Thursday. Then, against Minnesota at Kansas City, it'll be Bruce Chen on Friday and O'Sullivan on Saturday, back in the fifth starter's spot.
In his first start on April 16, O'Sullivan went the first five innings of a 7-0 win over Seattle. In his second start last Thursday, he went six innings and gave up two runs in the Royals' 3-2 win over Cleveland. He had a no-decision in the latter game.
Vin Mazzaro, the guy O'Sullivan replaced as the No. 5 starter, pitched seven shutout innings for Triple-A Omaha on Saturday and sharpened his control (one walk). But that will have no immediate effect on Kansas City's staff.
"O'Sullivan had an opportunity, he did a good job in that spot right now and we'll just leave it like that," Yost said.
Gordon extends hitting streak to 18 games
ARLINGTON -- Alex Gordon extended his hitting streak to 18 games in his last at-bat on Sunday against the Rangers.
The Royals' left fielder singled to lead off the eighth inning against Brett Tomko and then was wiped out as Billy Butler grounded into a double play for the first time this season. Last year Butler led the Majors by grounding into 32 double plays.
The 18-game streak is the longest of Gordon's career.
"I'd rather take a win any day than have a hitting streak," Gordon said after the 8-7 loss.
Soria spends another day without seeing action
ARLINGTON -- Royals closer Joakim Soria has not pitched since last Tuesday and manager Ned Yost had talked about getting him in Sunday's game, regardless of the score, just to get in work and stay sharp.
The Royals have an open date on Monday before opening a series at Cleveland, and Yost doesn't like to have his closer go without work for more than four days.
"We talked to Jack earlier and he said he was OK today with the off-day. We were hoping we were going to use him with the lead but it never got there," Yost said.
Yost's plan was to follow starter Bruce Chen with Jeremy Jeffress, Tim Collins, Louis Coleman and Aaron Crow to get to Soria. He used Jeffress, Collins and Crow but the Royals never got ahead in an 8-7 loss.
Yost has concerns but no changes imminent
ARLINGTON -- Yes, Royals manager Ned Yost keeps an eye on who's doing what at Triple-A Omaha. No, he apparently has no immediate changes in mind.
Yost looks at the statistical rundown from the Pacific Coast League club.
"I like to see it but the difference in talent between there and here is a pretty big jump," he said.
So he relies on reports from the Minor League staff and Royals scouts.
"We've got enough eyes down there. They recommend and can give you a pretty good sense of who's doing what," he said.
One player who is doing quite well is first baseman Eric Hosmer, batting .381 with one home run and eight RBIs. That's of interest because Kila Ka'aihue is off to a slow start for the Royals. Another factor is that Clint Robinson, who plays first base but is primarily Omaha's designated hitter, was out-hitting Hosmer with a .407/6/14 line.
It's pretty well accepted that, at some point this season, Hosmer and third baseman Mike Moustakas will be wearing a Kansas City uniform. The unknown, of course, is when -- mid-summer or not until September? Moustakas, through Saturday, was batting .242 with two homers and 12 RBIs.
While the Royals have started on a winning note with Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Wilson Betemit and Jeff Francoeur hitting well, not everything is rosy in the lineup.
"Yeah, I've got concerns. Got three or four spots in our lineup that aren't producing offensively and you start to lose offensive sequence," Yost said. "We've got Gordo hot, we got Billy hot, we got Betemit hot, Frenchy's hot but those guys aren't going to stay hot all year long. We've got to find an offensive balance in our lineup where there's some consistency."
Yost also has some options on his current big league roster but the season is just 3 1/2 weeks old.
"We've got some alternatives on this club. We could do some different things but I'm not ready to do it yet," 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.