Betancourt moves into picture at second

Betancourt moves into picture at second

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Yuniesky Betancourt has put himself in the running for the Royals' second-base job, along with Johnny Giavotella and Chris Getz.

Betancourt started at second base in Saturday night's game against the Padres for further evaluation.

Could Betancourt be at second base on Opening Day?

"There's always that chance," manager Ned Yost said, adding: "He's played extremely well defensively over there. In order for our pitching to get better, we need to have a solid defense behind them."

When Spring Training began, the offensively-strong Giavotella was considered a tad ahead of the defensively-strong Getz. "Gio's still a work in progress defensively, but he works his tail off over there," Yost said. Now, Yost has gotten his first look at Betancourt as a second baseman, the position he played in Cuba before defecting to the U.S.

"Yuni's come in and looked phenomenal at second, Getzy's a different player than he was last year, I mean a totally different player [offensively]," Yost said. "It's going to be a tough call there because all three of them are neck and neck."