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05/12/10 11:38 PM ET

Hillman keeps criticism in perspective

KANSAS CITY -- Sure, manager Trey Hillman has been feeling the heat from fans because of the Royals' early season slide. But he's been getting support from general manager Dayton Moore.

"I think Trey's done a terrific job," Moore told MLB.com on Monday, and he's made similar comments to other reporters in the past two days.

Hillman, in the final year of his three-year contract, was in a philosophical mood as he held his regular briefing with the media on Wednesday afternoon.

"All I really want is for the Kansas City Royals to be a contending club and to be in a position to win baseball games," Hillman said. "That's all I want. But I'd prefer, if I had my druthers, that I be the manager. But that's not the end game for me."

"I've always been driven to be part of things that are successful, and I always will be. And I've been blessed to be a part of a lot of things that were very successful. It wasn't just me, it was all the components that go into it. But in a lot of the situations where there has been success in the past, I have been the leader. And, 11 games under .500, I still feel blessed to be here. We're not where we want to be ... but we've got 120-something games left. Over the years I've learned that the first month and a half does not a season make."

Hillman also was somewhat bemused that some fans perceive him as not being frustrated by the club's losses.

"I'm as frustrated as I've ever been," Hillman said. "People don't think that I'm frustrated and that I live and die with every game. All they have to do is look at a picture when I was hired and look at my face and hair now. I've had more people tell me this year I better get the Grecian Formula out than ever before."

KC's DeJesus moves back to three-hole

KANSAS CITY -- Before late-afternoon rains threatened Wednesday night's game against the Indians, there was still plenty of food for thought for Royals fans.

For instance, the new lineup that was posted on the clubhouse wall.

Manager Trey Hillman was in a scramble mode, putting Scott Podsednik in the leadoff spot, followed by Mike Aviles at No. 2, with David DeJesus in the No. 3 spot and Billy Butler sliding back to the cleanup role.

This, at least except for Aviles, was the configuration at the top that Hillman envisioned early in Spring Training but eventually discarded. DeJesus wound up back in leadoff followed by Podsednik and, since April 13, Butler was the third hitter and Jose Guillen was the fourth.

"I kind of hope it jump-starts Dave into the hitter we all know David DeJesus is. I'm hoping he can be that guy we need right now when we're not scoring enough runs," Hillman said.

"It's just time to change it up a little bit. One and three is good for David. I know he's got a little mental block about hitting two. Billy's leading our team hitting into double plays in the three-slot, that's slowed some offensive production down and squelched some innings."

DeJesus was hitting just .258 and Guillen had cooled off after a hot start. Guillen was dropped to fifth in the new lineup.

Except for the double plays, Butler could be an excellent No. 3 hitter in Hillman's view.

"But I think the most pure No. 3 guy that we really have ability-wise is David, so I hope he takes to it and we'll see what it does for us in run production," Hillman said.

"[Dejesus is] one of the best hitters I've been privileged to manage anywhere. He's as quick on the inside pitch, he's as good at staying through it on the outside pitch -- it doesn't matter if it's a fastball, sinker, slider, changeup. He's got a pretty simple swing and he's good."

As it turned out, the new batting order yielded nine hits but no runs in a 4-0 loss to the Indians.

Milestone arrives for Royals' Kendall

KANSAS CITY -- Royals catcher Jason Kendall reached a milestone on Wednesday night, playing in the 2,000th game of his career.

Only 11 other active Major Leaguers are in the 2,000 club. Of his 1,999 previous games, Kendall caught in 1,939 of them -- sixth most all-time by a catcher. Next ahead of him is former Royals manager Tony Pena with 1,950 games.

Kendall had another milestone, not so pleasant, getting hit by a pitch for the 250th time. He was plunked by Indians starter Fausto Carmona in the fourth inning.

Ex-Royals reliever Cruz to have surgery

KANSAS CITY -- Right-handed reliever Juan Cruz will undergo season-ending surgery to remove a cyst from his shoulder, it was reported on Wednesday by ESPN's Buster Olney.

Cruz, released by the Royals on April 23, posted no record and a 3.38 ERA in five games. The Royals had to pick up his remainder of his $3.25 million salary for this season, plus the $500,000 buyout on the club option for his 2011 contract.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.