TORONTO -- Dale Sveum doesn't expect that much will come easy in his new assignment as the Royals' hitting coach.
"You're dealing with the hardest thing to do of any manager, of any coach, of any position. The hitting coach -- anybody will also say -- is the most difficult. Unfortunately, it's the most transitional, too," said Sveum, tapped to take over Pedro Grifol's job on Thursday.
Sveum knows about transitions. He was dismissed as Cubs manager last winter after two seasons. He succeeded Ned Yost as Brewers manager in September 2008. Now, Yost has named Sveum his hitting coach.
Bypassed as permanent Brewers manager for 2009, Sveum instead became the club's hitting coach for the next three years.
Sveum's immediate take on the Royals is they're not feasting enough on high pitches, instead going after too many low in the zone.
"It's not rocket science," Sveum said. "If you don't get a good pitch up in the zone, you're not going to be very successful. That's basically the bottom line. We have very talented hitters that have done it in the big leagues and have had good years in the big leagues so sometimes it's as simple as pitch selection, sometimes it's as simple as maybe a mechanical flaw."
As Yost put it, sometimes just a new voice makes a difference with the players.
"It's nothing Petey [Grifol] hasn't been preaching and talking about," Sveum said. "It's relaxing in situations, it's understanding that sometimes you maybe have to exaggerate eyesight -- not just up, but armpit high."
Grifol was reassigned to coaching the catchers and will help Yost and bench coach Don Wakamatsu during the games.
"Petey is one of the best and smartest baseball people I've been around," Sveum said. "I've only known him for a few months now. But he's a very intelligent, all-around baseball guy that's going to be a big asset being on the bench and working with Salvy [Perez] and [Brett] Hayes, and doing a lot of good things."
Hitting, the great Ted Williams once said, is the most difficult thing in sports and Sveum agrees.
"It's still the hardest thing to do in sports and you've got to understand that and simplify it as best you can, and see what you've got," Sveum said.
"It's a long season, there are four months left and we know hitting does go in cycles. Toronto is one of the hottest teams right now and, two months from now you might say, 'Wow, they've really been struggling,' and we might be hotter than heck. That's the way hitting is, not too many teams are the same way the whole season."
Ironically, Blue Jays hitting coach Kevin Seitzer was dismissed by the Royals after serving as their hitting coach from 2009-12.
The majority of players, too, tend to run hot and cold at the plate, hence the term "streaky hitter," Sveum said.
"Most guys are and the rest of them go to the Hall of Fame," he said.
So now, two months into a six-month season, comes the task of rejuvenating a disappointing hitting performance.
"Now it's just a matter of getting into that Happy Zone and finding out now what we're made of when we're going through adversity," Sveum said. "Hitting is one big adversity. If you pick up the dictionary and look up 'hitting,' it might say 'adversity' next to it. That's what it is."
Valencia out of lineup for fifth straight game
TORONTO -- Third baseman Danny Valencia was out of the Royals' starting lineup for the fifth straight game on Thursday night against the Blue Jays.
Valencia is recovering from a hand injury sustained while batting at Anaheim last weekend. He had taken over for the struggling Mike Moustakas who was optioned to Triple-A Omaha a week ago.
Valencia went without swinging for three days, then took some swings on Wednesday and was to take some more cuts on Thursday.
"We'll see how he feels tomorrow," manager Ned Yost said.
Yost still wasn't ready to announce who will start Saturday's game against the Blue Jays in place of Yordano Ventura, who's been skipped as a precaution because of elbow issues in his last start.
Royals will honor Jeter before finale on June 9
TORONTO -- Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter will make his final regular-season appearance in Kansas City as a player on Monday, June 9, the finale of a four-game series, and the Royals will recognize his career in a pregame ceremony.
Royals Charities will present Jeter with a $10,000 check for his Turn 2 Foundation which promotes a healthy lifestyle for young people and enables them to "Turn 2" his foundation for guidance and help to avoid drugs and alcohol.
A video tribute to Jeter will be shown on the Crown Vision scoreboard.
The Royals are offering Hy-Vee Infield tickets for a discounted price of $20 for that game. Fans can purchase these tickets at royals.com/dynamicdeals.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.