BOSTON -- Infielder Tony Abreu hadn't played for over a week so Royals manager Ned Yost had him in the lineup on Saturday night against the Red Sox, giving Johnny Giavotella a break at second base.
Abreu came through with the go-ahead RBI single in the 12th inning, as the Royals rallied for a 10-9 victory to even the series at one game apiece. He finished the night 2-for-6.
Yost views Abreu as a good utility player.
"His natural position is shortstop, but he plays third fine and he's OK at second," Yost said. "[He's a] switch-hitter, he can swing the bat a little bit. Good player, I like him. We've got two really good options with him and [Irving] Falu as utility guys. You don't feel like you're missing out when you put them in the game."
Falu, up with the Royals earlier this year, is currently with Triple-A Omaha batting .317. Abreu, in his time with Omaha, hit .322.
Abreu might also get a start on Sunday at third base in place of Mike Moustakas, who went into Saturday night's game in a 0-for-15 skid.
"He's grinding a little bit, but he's got to learn how to work through it," Yost said of Moustakas.
Royals aren't fazed by Sox changing starters
BOSTON -- An immediate effect of the Red Sox's mega-deal with the Dodgers was that it dispensed with Josh Beckett's scheduled start against the Royals on Saturday night at Fenway Park.
"We had an idea. We do all our homework. It's no big deal," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Except that Beckett, in his career, has a 7-1 record and 2.58 ERA against the royals in 10 starts. But he was on a plane to Los Angeles and his replacement was Aaron Cook, 0-1 with a 6.52 ERA in two starts against Kansas City.
Royals veteran Alex Gordon said that players aren't all that concerned about the past history of the other team's starting pitcher.
"Not really," Gordon said. "You can't really worry about what they're doing. They're going to throw whoever they need to. We've just got to control whatever we can in our at-bats. Whoever it is, make sure we're prepared whether it's Aaron Cook or Beckett."
Obviously, though, batters are aware of how they've done against a certain pitcher in the past. On Friday night, Gordon went against Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester at 0-for-11 with six strikeouts.
"I went into last night knowing I hadn't had that much success against Lester, but I didn't think it was going to carry over. I went in there with confidence and thinking I was going to get a hit every time I went up, but I knew it was going to be a challenge," Gordon said after going 2-for-4 with an RBI double against Lester.
"Yeah, we think about it, but this game is about forgetting what happened in the past, if it's good or bad, and focusing on what you can do today."
The change in Red Sox pitchers probably suited the Royals' Jeff Francoeur. He was just 1-for-19 (.053) against Beckett but 10-for-26 (.385) against Cook.
Gordon, Royals intrigued by Red Sox trade
BOSTON -- For the Royals, the pregame trade rumors on Friday night were pretty much confirmed when the Red Sox abruptly scratched first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from their lineup.
"You knew when they pulled Gonzalez out of the lineup, something was happening," Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur said.
The big trade wasn't announced until Saturday afternoon and it obviously caught everyone's attention.
"Our first family is this team but all Major League Baseball, every team is kind of a family so once something like this happens, people have gone through it and they know how it can be on your family and on you personally," Royals left fielder Alex Gordon said. "Maybe some of those guys liked it over there and it's kind of tough to pick up and move so we pay attention to that. A lot of the guys know each other and we keep in contact, but it's part of the game, part of the business."
Francoeur saw the immediate effect.
"For Boston it just opens up a bunch of payroll," Francoeur said.
"You look at the first basemen across the leagues -- the elite ones -- and most of them are signed up for the next five or six years. So I'm sure that with LA, that was their thinking, this was their way of getting a first baseman for the future. And I'm sure Boston wants to shore up some other areas now. When they signed Adrian and all those guys that was kind of [former GM] Theo [Epstein's] deal and now he's gone, and they might want to go a different way."
The scope of the trade made an impression.
"Even before the deadline, this would be a huge trade with the salaries," Gordon said. "So what I see is the Red Sox are probably going to make some moves in the offseason after dumping all this salary. They must have a plan and it seems like they're going to stick with it."
Smith experienced in debuts at fabled parks
BOSTON -- Left-hander Will Smith made his Major League debut for the Royals this year at Yankee Stadium.
Smith found that overwhelming but, as he prepares for his first start at Fenway Park on Sunday, he feels ready. And he's had fun just getting acquainted with the 100-year-old ballpark.
"It's awesome, just so much tradition here," Smith said. "So many good players have come through here. You've got the Green Monster and I actually went inside of it with Gio [Johnny Giavotella] and we signed our names in there. It was a lot of fun. We went on top of it [Friday] and I still want to go see Pesky's Pole. There's just so much tradition here, how can you not love it?"
Just being in the Red Sox stronghold can stir emotions.
"I got goosebumps [Friday] night when they sang the 'Sweet Caroline' song. It's the first time I ever heard that, that was awesome," Smith said.
But as he makes his 11th big league start, Smith feels he can make his surroundings secondary and concentrate on getting hitters out.
"Everything's a lot easier now. You're not overwhelmed by everything," Smith said.
Bench coach Chino Cadahia has rejoined the Royals in Boston after attending to a family matter in Kansas City.
Futures Game pitcher Yordano Ventura, out with a hand injury since July 30, returned to toss 4 2/3 solid innings in Double-A Northwest Arkansas' 3-2 win over Springfield.
Two strikeouts on Friday night gave reliever Tim Collins 10 in his last 11 outs to that point. His 83 K's led all American League relievers.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.