04/24/12 7:56 PM ET
Royals stay loose, in search of wins
By Zack Meisel / MLB.com
Pitcher Luis Mendoza was handling the video game controls for the Royals in a tilt against the Blue Jays, and his teammates were glued to the action as if it were an actual contest.
"Why are we playing Toronto?" one player asked.
"We have to get them back somehow," another player responded, suggesting virtual revenge for the four-game sweep the Blue Jays completed over Kansas City on Monday.
Such is life for the Royals, mired in an 11-game losing streak, the last 10 coming at Kauffman Stadium. But as the club embarks on a nine-game road trip, it remains relaxed and loose as ever.
"It's good to see them relaxing and enjoying themselves," manager Ned Yost said. "It's a good sign."
The Royals refuse to dwell on their losing streak, which is why something so simple as a video game provided laughs and cheers. It did, however, also bring about some mock anger.
When Mendoza pinch-hit for Jeff Francoeur, the right fielder jokingly threw a fit and slammed a bin on the ground in frustration. Mitch Maier, who Mendoza used instead, flew out, so Francoeur got the last laugh.
"Our kids, they need that right now," Yost said. "They need to relax and enjoy each other. When they step on that field, they're all playing extremely hard and they're all trying to break out of this slump."
Infielder Chris Getz watched from his locker, smiling at the amusement his teammates found from the video game.
"If we get caught up in how many games we've lost," Getz said, "it would constantly just suck all of the energy out of us."
Yost continues to tinker with top spot
CLEVELAND -- The Royals have shuffled through a handful of leadoff hitters, and manager Ned Yost said he'll continue to pencil in different players in the No. 1 hole.
Alex Gordon, the club's regular leadoff hitter last season, has hit second recently. He's batting just .177 with two homers.
That has left Yost to rotate second baseman Yuniesky Betancourt, outfielder Jason Bourgeois and infielder Chris Getz at the leadoff spot based on matchups.
Getz, hitting .296, batted first on Monday and Tuesday. Betancourt, batting .324 with a .375 on-base percentage, hit leadoff for the first time in his career on Saturday.
"Both fit the bill because they're both swinging the bat well and they're both table-setter guys," Yost said. "Yuni isn't striking out; he's putting the ball in play. Getz has been doing a good job offensively, too."
Yost said Gordon's struggles have created the revolving door in the leadoff spot.
"We don't really have a prototypical No. 1-type hitter," Yost said, "so we've just been trying some different options to try to get some offense on the board."
Royals say bad blood with Indians in past
CLEVELAND -- When the Indians and Royals met 10 days ago, tensions were through the roof, as benches cleared twice and three Indians were ejected.
That drama is in the past, however.
"Our first focus is to get a win," Royals infielder Chris Getz said. "Everything else that happens just happens."
In his previous start against the Indians, Royals southpaw Jonathan Sanchez, who started on Tuesday, hit right fielder Shin-Soo Choo with a pitch in the knee. Choo took exception, noting the shattered left thumb he endured as a result of a Sanchez fastball last June when the hurler was pitching for the Giants.
When Indians right-hander Jeanmar Gomez struck Mike Moustakas with a pitch in the ensuing half-inning, tempers flared and Gomez, Indians skipper Manny Acta and third baseman Jack Hannahan all were ejected.
Choo insists that he has moved past the incident.
"It was over 10 days ago. I don't think about it anymore," Choo said. "Last year, he broke my thumb. That's why I was sensitive."
An admirable streak came to an end on Tuesday. The series opener at Cleveland was the Royals' first regular-season game not covered by MLB.com beat writer Dick Kaegel since Sept. 22, 2010. Kaegel, 72, covered 185 consecutive games.
The Royals went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position during Monday's 4-1 loss to Toronto. They hit just .150 (9-for-60) with runners in scoring position on their winless homestand.