Butler to be odd man out in NL ballparks

Butler to be odd man out in NL ballparks

OAKLAND -- Designated hitter Billy Butler looks like the odd man out when the Royals play their first games on National League soil this weekend at St. Louis.

Rookie first baseman Eric Hosmer figures to be in the lineup while Butler, who led the regulars with a .302 average through Wednesday, will be on the bench as a pinch-hitter.

Hosmer was batting .288 with five homers and 22 RBIs in his first 37 games. He also was providing excellent defense.

"If the kid struggled to hit or he wasn't a run producer, it's an easy choice," Yost said. "You go ahead and take the offense [with Butler] and defend for him later but [Hosmer] is pretty good all the way around."

Hosmer was rested on Thursday for the first time since being called up on May 6. Wilson Betemit, not Butler, started at first base in his absence.

"We're looking for defense," Yost said. "Billy can play over there, [but] Wilson's best position is probably first base out of all of them."

Butler declined to talk about the situation on Thursday.