4/23/2013 9:10 P.M. ET
Struggling Moustakas works on issues in early BP
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Is Moose about to get on the loose?
Royals manager Ned Yost believes so.
Mike Moustakas entered Tuesday's series opener in Detroit with a .158 average after going just 2-for-19 on the first five games of the Royals' eight-game road trip. He had a grand total of one RBI for the season.
The problem, according to Yost, is that the left-handed-hitting Moustakas' front foot is "drifting" on his swing, coming forward too soon.
"When you get out in front, you've got nothing left to drive your hands through with," Yost said.
So, several hours before the opener against the Tigers, Moustakas was hard at work.
"We spent a lot of time in the cage today. Went out for early BP. Looked much better," Yost said. "But when you start drifting, it's a habit. When you're hitting or pitching, it's all a repetition of good habits."
Moustakas, though, has a bad habit going.
"You've got to break that habit and get back to staying behind the ball," Yost said. "He did it really, really good in early BP today. I mean, he was driving the ball into seats, driving the ball into gaps, driving the ball to deep center, just barreling up balls really well. And it may take a few days before he gets the feel of it in a game, but he's definitely on his way to getting there."
Moustakas thinks so, too.
"It feels good. I made a couple of changes, so yeah," Moustakas said. "I was definitely drifting, so stop drifting was the adjustment we made. I'm getting there."
Bumped again, Mendoza returns to bullpen
DETROIT -- Bumped again.
That was right-hander Luis Mendoza's fate when the Royals' scheduled game against the Tigers was postponed by rain on Tuesday night. The game will not be made up during this series, reducing it to two games and pushing Mendoza, the No. 5 starter, out of the rotation once again.
An abundance of off-days prompted manager Ned Yost to skip Mendoza in the last turn of the rotation so the front four in his rotation could be kept on a regular routine. That's the life of a fifth starter. He last pitched on April 12.
"Of course I want to pitch, I want to play," Mendoza said. "Now with the off-days and the rainout, I've just got to take it easy and just wait for my chance to pitch."
Mendoza had spent his down time in the bullpen, on call if needed, or in the dugout, just cheering. He'll be on call for relief on Wednesday night, too. Then he'll go back to preparing for his next start, which would presumably come Monday at home against Cleveland.
"When I get the chance to pitch again, I want to do good," he said. "So I've just got to be ready, keep working. Maybe [Wednesday] I'll get to pitch as a reliever during these days before my start."
Cold weather has been the norm this spring and it's likely to be in the low 40s by first pitch on Wednesday. If Mendoza does get into the game, that could be a detriment to the sinkerballer as he grips the leather.
"Especially for me, because I use no seams for my sinker, I need to feel it," he said. "If I grab the seams, it hurts my fingers sometimes. I've had problems with blisters before, so that's why I go between the seams, and when it's cold, it's harder to grip it."
When there's moisture on the ball, that helps, and there's a very good chance of rain again on Wednesday night. Regardless, Mendoza is eager to get back into action, even if it's as a reliever.
"I'll be ready," he said.
Royals setting records with television ratings
DETROIT -- The Royals' ratings continue to set highs this year for Fox Sports Kansas City.
The Royals-Red Sox series last Saturday and Sunday following the Boston Marathon bombings and manhunt was the highest-rated series in the network's history. It averaged a 7.0 household rating in the Kansas City area, according to Nielsen Media Research. That passed the 6.9 for the first home series this year against Minnesota.
Royals telecasts averaged 5.7 through 16 games, up 36 percent over last year. The afternoon opener of Sunday's doubleheader in Boston was the second-highest rated game ever on the network, averaging 7.4 and peaking at 9.9 (or 92,000 households) in the ninth inning.
The pre- and post-game shows also hit all-time highs on Sunday, with a 5.9 after the first game and a 3.4 before the second game.
• Jeremy Guthrie's streak of 15 straight starts without a loss is just one shy of Paul Splittorff's club record of 16 from Aug. 13, 1977, to April 22, 1978. Guthrie is 7-0 with a 2.60 ERA in his streak.
• Outfielder Brett Eibner, rebounding from a 1-for-29 start for Double-A Northwest Arkansas, went 10-for-21 (.476) last week to earn Texas League Player of the Week honors.
• Left-hander Will Smith, back with Triple-A Omaha after a one-day stay with Kansas City as the 26th man for Sunday's doubleheader, pitched six innings in Monday's 12-3 win at Nashville.
• Second baseman Johnny Giavotella is 16-for-35 (.457) over his past 10 games for Omaha.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.