Move will help give Soler time to acclimate to right field
By Jeffrey Flanagan
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals manager Ned Yost revealed Friday that he may have some unusual outfield combinations this spring, and perhaps during the regular season.
Yost indicated he plans to utilize Gold Glove left fielder Alex Gordon in all three outfield spots.
"Every scenario is open," Yost said. "I'm going to move Gordy around. I'm going to play Gordy in right, Gordy in center. Just to see what we got."
Yost said he will search for his best defensive combination, especially as new right fielder Jorge Soler, who scouts say is average defensively at best, continues to improve with the help of outfielders coach Rusty Kuntz.
Yost also will try to work in Brandon Moss in one of the corner spots. Moss, like Soler, is probably average defensively at best.
"Is left field easier to play than right field? Yes," Yost said. "But with Rusty, [Moss' and Soler's] ability to cover ground is going to get better."
Soler, though, is the right fielder for now.
"Soler is more comfortable in right," Yost said. "But maybe Moss could play some left when Gordy needs a break.
"I've got a Gold Glover who can move anywhere in the field. It's just finding a spot where everybody can be at their best. If Moss is more comfortable in left than right, Gordy is more than capable of moving to right and creating a better defense."
Kuntz joked during the offseason that his new best friend this spring would be Soler as they worked to make Soler better defensively.
"Yes. Oh, yes," Soler said with a laugh through interpreter Pedro Grifol. "He's a good friend of mine now. I got here a while ago and started working at 10 o'clock every day with him.
"We're doing a lot of work in the outfield, especially on charging the ball. And we're working on my turns once the ball is hit."
There's little doubt that Soler was acquired to boost the Royals' offense. Yost and the Royals simply hope Soler's defense eventually catches up.
"He'll get his 600 ABs somehow," Yost said. "But maybe some of those are at DH. My mind is completely open right now about our defensive alignment."
And Soler, who has 27 homers in 211 Major League games, wants to be known for more than just his power.
"I'm not going to predict how many homers I'm going to hit," he said. "But I want to be a complete player. I'll work to be my best offensively and defensively."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.