SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Yordano Ventura became the first Royals pitcher to go to bat in the Cactus League this year. So why did manager Ned Yost let him hit in Sunday's 13-9 loss to the Giants?
"The Giants are making him hit; I'm not letting him hit," Yost said before the game. "They want to play a National League game and you have to get [their] permission."
Yost was not thrilled about doing without the designated hitter. Not only have his pitchers not batted, they haven't practiced baserunning either.
"I don't understand it, I can't grasp the concept of it. ... It's Spring Training," Yost said, although he admitted he thought much the same way when he was in the NL with Atlanta and Milwaukee.
"Cincinnati called the other day and they wanted to play a National League game, too. I said, 'Look, I've got my No. 1 starter [James Shields] on the mound and he hasn't even looked at a bat,' and they said, 'OK, fine.'"
The Giants weren't so accommodating.
"So we'll put him at the back of the box, put the shoulder on his bat," Yost said.
When Ventura batted in the second inning with two out and a runner at third, Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum threw a called ball, then three straight strikes that Ventura merely watched zip past. The inning was over.
Next time up, with two out and two on, Ventura gazed as three straight strikes were called. Inning over.
"Once the season starts," Yost said, "we're six weeks away from Interleague, and a month out we'll start taking a lot of batting practice with the starters and a lot of bunting practice, but we haven't done it to this point."
Anyway, the rest of the Royals weren't keeping the bats on their shoulders. They pounded out 13 hits, including a solo homer by Salvador Perez and a three-run shot by Jason Donald. Both came off Lincecum, who gave up seven runs.