PITTSBURGH -- Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas entered the visitors' clubhouse at PNC Park on Sunday morning, looked at the Royals' lineup card on the bulletin board, then exchanged a fist bump.
"Just like old times," Moustakas said with a smile.
What he meant was that his buddy, Hosmer, was back across the infield at first base for Sunday's Interleague series finale against the Pirates. Hosmer had played right field in the first two games, a move that proved defensively costly, notably with a botched bounce for an error and a missed looper that appeared catchable.
The move was made so that designated hitter Billy Butler could move to first base to keep his bat in the lineup. Butler showed his vulnerability, too; he booted one grounder and recovered to get an out but still ...
"We've got to try to play a defensive game," manager Ned Yost said. "I tried it and I don't think it's going to work. But I had to try it."
But on Sunday, Hosmer was back at first base and Butler was out of the lineup. Still ahead are six Interleague games in National League cities -- three at St. Louis and three at Houston -- so if that approach holds, either Butler or Hosmer would have to be out of the lineup in those games.
"I'll continue to think through it, but I'm leaning that way," Yost said.
Also on Sunday, Yost decided to sit Jeff Francoeur and Yuniesky Betancourt because they had not hit well against Pirates starter A.J. Burnett. So Jarrod Dyson played center field where Francoeur had been stationed, Mitch Maier played right field and Johnny Giavotella replaced Betancourt at second base.
"Guys got some days off today and I think he shuffled the lineup a little bit. But we've got another week of Interleague away games, so hopefully I'll get another chance out there," Hosmer said. "I'm starting to get more comfortable out there."
Hosmer realizes that becoming a proficient outfielder does not happen overnight.
"First base took me about 22 years to be semi-good at it, so hopefully I'll get a little more time out there in the outfield and we'll see what happens," he said.