4/30/2014 9:01 P.M. ET
Valencia likely to get more looks at lefties
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- Third baseman Mike Moustakas has some plusses and some minuses in the first month of the season.
"Moose is third on our team in RBIs and first in home runs," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He's a great defender at third base."
True enough. Entering Wednesday night's game against the Blue Jays, Moustakas had four home runs and 12 RBIs.
However, Moustakas also had a .155 (13-for-84) batting average and a .226 on-base percentage. In particular, the left-handed batter has struggled against left-handed pitching, going 1-for-11, .091.
Could that mean right-handed-hitting Danny Valencia might get more shots against left-handed pitchers?
"Yes, absolutely," Yost said.
That likely will be the case Thursday night against Blue Jays lefty Mark Buehrle. In his career, Valencia is 7-for-25 (.280), against Buehrle compared with Moustakas' 1-for-8 (.125).
Valencia has hit lefties for a .329 (134-for-407) average in his career; Moustakas has only a .218 (82-for-376) mark against them.
"I imagine we'll see Danny pinch-hitting a little more -- against tough left-handers," Yost said. "Not all of them. We look at matchups. It'll probably just be when we're behind."
Chen's next start hinges on throwing session
KANSAS CITY -- Left-hander Bruce Chen's scheduled start against the Tigers on Saturday will hinge on how he feels after throwing a side session Thursday.
He was scratched from Wednesday night's start because of lingering pain starting in his back side, from a swollen disc and/or his strained glute. He had an epidural Monday.
"It comes down from my rear all the way down my leg. I've had it for four weeks now," Chen said.
However, the area felt better Wednesday, he said.
"I'm preparing myself like I'm going to pitch on Saturday," he said. "If I'm not 100 percent to help the team -- the most important thing is to help the team and they need to know I can go six or seven innings."
The alternatives include another left-hander, Danny Duffy, who's been operating out of the bullpen.
"We're hoping Chen's going to be ready to go," manager Ned Yost said. "We have a backup plan but we're going to wait and see how Bruce feels before we start talking about any names. We've got different scenarios -- we could start Duffy if we don't use him [before] but we're not going to jeopardize a game tonight for a game tomorrow. There are a lot of factors that come into play here. We'll make a determination after Bruce throws [Thursday] and see how he's feeling."
Bueno feels good after batting practice session
KANSAS CITY -- Left-handed reliever Francisley Bueno threw a batting practice session Wednesday as he hopes to end his time on the disabled list.
"I threw good, I feel good," Bueno said. "I threw 25 pitches and threw all of my pitches."
He's been out since April 7 after his left little finger was hit by a batted ball.
Yost attributes cold hitting to weather woes
KANSAS CITY -- Chilly weather has been the norm for much of the Royals' first month of the season and manager Ned Yost believes that it's partially to blame for his club's often cold hitting.
"I was trying to look back and we've had maybe three nice days since the season started where it's been comfortable, nice and warm," Yost said before Wednesday night's game against Toronto.
"It's difficult to hit when it's cold like this, on nights like [Tuesday] night when it's really miserable. It's not going to be much better tonight, it's going to be windy, it's going to be cool with little periods of spittin' rain that gets you real damp. It's tough to produce like that. But, again, I think we've got a good offensive team."
The Royals finally showed signs of that in their previous two games, scoring a total of 19 runs in two victories.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.