Slumping Hosmer breaks from starting lineup

Slumping Hosmer breaks from starting lineup

KANSAS CITY -- Eric Hosmer just can't seem to get out of his slump. So, Royals manager Ned Yost is giving him a couple days' off.

The Royals first baseman wasn't in the lineup for Thursday's game against the Orioles, and Yost said Hosmer will probably sit out Friday's Interleague series opener against the Diamondbacks, too.

Yost said he wanted to give Hosmer some time to clear his head and also avoid unfavorable matchups with left-handed pitchers [O's starter Brian Matusz and D-backs starter Joe Saunders on Friday].

"With two lefties, [this will] just give him a chance to relax a little bit and clear his mind," Yost said. "He's been grinding really hard through it, been doing a great job of staying positive, but I think it's time where he just sits back and takes it easy."

Hosmer entered play on Thursday with a .174 batting average, the third-lowest among qualified hitters in the American League. Hosmer's average has been below the Mendoza Line since April 27, and he's picked up just nine hits since that date.

"I think later in the game he starts to press a little bit. That's the main reason why you give him these little mental breaks," Yost said. "We told him that we don't really want him in the cage at all the next two days. We just want him to take it easy. ... The fact of the matter is with a player of his caliber, he knows how to hit. His body knows how to hit. At times our mind and our brain get in the way."

Yost has moved Hosmer around in the order in hopes of jump-starting his production. Most recently, Hosmer had been hitting in the two-hole. Yost said he likes him in that spot of the batting order and plans to keep him there.