ST. PETERSBURG -- In keeping a vigilant watch on his team's health, manager Trey Hillman has been vocal about getting certain Royals off the Rays artificial turf field during the four-game wraparound series.
In Monday afternoon's finale, Jose Guillen and Mark Grudzielanek got their respective breaks, with the pair
not in the starting lineup, but still available if needed in the contest.
Guillen -- who is 0-for-10 in the series -- was the designated hitter on Sunday following two consecutive starts
in the outfield and has been hampered by some lower-body soreness.
"Talking about it during the game [Sunday], [he's] caught in between where he's at with his leg," Hillman said. "Because his bat was a little early, swinging at some good pitches. Something's missing there, so hopefully the day off can basically get him on track."
The first-year skipper noted that Guillen's hips have held up better than expected during the eight-game road
trip, adding that he didn't think the outfielders progress has "gone backwards at all," his body was simply a little worn down.
In Grudzielanek's case, Hillman just wanted to give the infielder a day off to help combat some general
The Royals' second baseman, Grudzielanek had a seven-game hit streak snapped in Sunday's loss, and was 3-for-11 with a home run and an RBI in the first three games of the series.
To help fill the power holes, Hillman shifted Billy Butler into the cleanup role, and said he was pleased with
the designated hitter's slugging performance, despite a recent 0-for-8 showing vs. the Rays.
"Wish he had more to show for it in this series, specifically two or three balls hit to right field," Hillman said, adding that he had thought the ball would carry better for the Royals' bats in the dome than it has.
Butler was 6-for-13 with a home run and an RBI in the previous four-game set at Baltimore, and will look to generate some much-needed offense for a Royals lineup that has struggled in the Rays' home confines.
"But in all fairness to [the Rays] they are squaring it up with power and with sweet spot," Hillman said. "Their balls are carrying better than ours."
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.