ST. PETERSBURG -- The Royals' Billy Butler was spared grounding into his 15th double play in Monday night's 5-1 loss to the Rays when second baseman Ryan Roberts' relay ripped through the webbing of first baseman Jeff Keppinger's glove.
Butler was safe and Keppinger was charged with an error in the sixth-inning play. A similar mishap befell Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer late last season.
"The only time I've ever seen that is on first base mitts," Hosmer said. "When I was in high school, it'd happen to me once every other two weeks. You catch so many balls, the webbing just gets looser and looser and after a while, it's just going to snap. You've got to keep oiling your glove or the string will just dry out and rip off with all that impact."
So maybe Keppinger just erred in not oiling his glove. At any rate, he had to play first base with a regular fielder's mitt for a couple pitches while another first baseman's glove was fetched from the clubhouse.
Didn't matter. Salvador Perez promptly rapped into a double play, and this time Roberts' throw stuck in Keppinger's mitt.
Moose golden at hot corner for Kansas City
ST. PETERSBURG -- Third baseman Mike Moustakas has been so spectacular and dependable in the field this season that he might merit Gold Glove consideration.
"I would think," manager Ned Yost said.
When Moustakas came up from the Minors last year, the expectation was that he'd be an average fielder. But, after intensive work with infield coach Eddie Rodriguez, Moustakas has rated extensive praise.
"He's better than any third baseman I've ever had as a manager, by far, defensive-wise. He's as good as anybody I've seen," Yost said.
That includes Yost's time as a coach with the Braves.
"Chipper [Jones] was there, Terry Pendleton was there and they were very solid third basemen, but he's as every bit as good defensively as they were," Yost said. "Just whenever I see a ball hit that way, I don't even think twice about it. That's a good feeling."
It might be a stretch to expect Moustakas to bump the Rangers' Adrian Beltre as the American League third baseman on the Gold Glove team, but his reputation is growing.
"He's been unbelievable," Yost said.
Cain gets crash course on Trop's outfield
ST. PETERSBURG -- Lorenzo Cain, in right field for the Royals on Monday night for the series opener, was new to Tropicana Field and he learned quickly about the unusual risks of chasing long fly balls.
There's no warning track rimming the outfield, just a dirt-colored turf that's the same texture as the green-colored turf on the rest of the field. So Cain blasted into the wall in the third inning while chasing Desmond Jennings' triple.
"This is my first time playing here, but the field and the warning track are the same, so I couldn't tell how close I was getting to it," Cain said. "And with the ceiling being white, I couldn't afford to take my eyes off the ball. So I kept running full speed and, in my mind, I was about ready to catch the ball and -- boom! -- full speed into the wall."
Outfield coach Rusty Kuntz had prepped Cain beforehand:
"The three things that I told him about were 1, When you know the ball is over your head, make sure you turn and look at the wall. And he did that last night. 2, You've got to remember these gaps are only 370 feet and we're used to playing at 390 so they come up on you quick and you've got to be ready. And 3, When you get close, there's no dirt so you're not going to feel the difference between grass and dirt like you do in normal places when you get close to the wall so you've got to take a peek at it."
Cain didn't peek for fear of losing sight of the ball against the Tropicana roof.
"Two more feet and I would've caught it," he said.
Except that the wall intervened. Cain put a good dent into the cushion and was a little slow getting up off the turf.
"I guess I was a little dazed and shocked because I hit the wall," he said. "I didn't expect it at all, it just came out of nowhere."
Bench coach Chino Cadahia has been absent because of a family matter. He might be able to rejoin the Royals this weekend in Boston, manager Ned Yost said. No one has replaced Cadahia. "I'm my own bench coach, I just can't get thrown out of a game," Yost said.
Left fielder Alex Gordon on Monday night became the third Major League left fielder to have a two-assist game this season, joining the Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez, who did it twice, and the Cubs' Alfonso Soriano. Gordon accomplished it twice last season.
Triple-A Omaha right-hander Jake Odorizzi was the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week after giving up just one earned run in 14 innings of two victories. Two other Royals farmhands won the same honor in other leagues -- Wilmington right-hander Brooks Pounders in the Carolina League and Burlington left-hander Patrick Conroy in the Appalachian League.
Royals left-hander Tim Collins celebrated his 23rd birthday on Tuesday.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.