KANSAS CITY -- A sweeping lineup change greeted Royals fans as they settled in for Opening Day at home on Friday.
Just-arrived center fielder Jarrod Dyson was leading off and right fielder Jeff Francoeur was listed in the second slot for the first time in his career. Alex Gordon, who's been leading off, was dropped to fifth, formerly occupied by Francoeur.
The change was prompted by Dyson's arrival to replace injured Lorenzo Cain on the roster and manager Ned Yost's desire to have a left-right-left pattern to the first eight lineup spots.
"I think a left-handed pitcher has an advantage over a left-handed hitter," Yost said. "So we had four or five different scenarios that we did different lineups where it was easy to bring in a left-handed pitcher and face multiple left-handed hitters. We tried to break up the left and right, so if they do bring in a left-handed pitcher, they've got to face a right-handed hitter right after."
Dyson, one of baseball's fastest runners, is a more prototypical leadoff batter than Gordon.
"I've always liked Alex Gordon down in a position where he can drive in more runs," Yost said.
He called Francoeur arguably the best fastball hitter on the club and -- if Dyson is on base and with dangerous Eric Hosmer coming up next -- Francoeur should see more fastballs.
"He's going to get more fastballs and he's had great approaches all year long," Yost said and added: "The one spot that hasn't settled in yet is the No. 2 spot. Gordy would be perfect for that, too, but that presents the problem of two lefties in a row."
In the six previous games, Cain and Alcides Escobar, both right-handed hitters, batted second three times each.
If a left-handed pitcher starts against the Royals -- and that's not due to happen until next Tuesday -- right-handed batter Jason Bourgeois probably will play center. For now, Yost prefers to use left-handed-hitting outfielder Mitch Maier off the bench.
"We'll try it and see what it looks like," Yost said.