KANSAS CITY -- Third baseman Mike Moustakas has some plusses and some minuses in the first month of the season.
"Moose is third on our team in RBIs and first in home runs," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He's a great defender at third base."
True enough. Entering Wednesday night's game against the Blue Jays, Moustakas had four home runs and 12 RBIs.
However, Moustakas also had a .155 (13-for-84) batting average and a .226 on-base percentage. In particular, the left-handed batter has struggled against left-handed pitching, going 1-for-11, .091.
Could that mean right-handed-hitting Danny Valencia might get more shots against left-handed pitchers?
"Yes, absolutely," Yost said.
That likely will be the case Thursday night against Blue Jays lefty Mark Buehrle. In his career, Valencia is 7-for-25 (.280), against Buehrle compared with Moustakas' 1-for-8 (.125).
Valencia has hit lefties for a .329 (134-for-407) average in his career; Moustakas has only a .218 (82-for-376) mark against them.
"I imagine we'll see Danny pinch-hitting a little more -- against tough left-handers," Yost said. "Not all of them. We look at matchups. It'll probably just be when we're behind."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.