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Royals' power hitters get aggressive on 3-0 counts

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SAN DIEGO -- So when is it a good idea to swing on a three-ball, no-strike pitch?

"A lot of it depends on the pitcher but it could be the best pitch you're going to get for the rest of the at-bat. It could be," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "So we green-light our power hitters with one out, never with no outs, and only if it's at a point in the game where it can give us the lead or add on."

The Royals, according to Baseball-Reference.com, through Monday night had 23 counts of 3-0 and have connected with six, resulting in one hit.

"We have swung at six. I've probably given the (green light) sign 10 times, 12 times, maybe more," Yost said.

Those green lights usually go to just middle-of-the-order power hitters such as Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler, Salvador Perez, Alex Gordon or Mike Moustakas.

"We don't want our No. 1 and No. 2 swinging 3-0," he said.

Yet Nori Aoki swung at 3-0 pitch in Baltimore and got a hit and Omar Infante went after a 3-0 pitch in the ninth inning Monday night against the Padres and flied out. But both those cases, Yost said, were mistakes -- they weren't OK'd to swing.

"All this gets magnified when you lose five in a row. It's a non-issue when you're winning ballgames," Yost said. "We green-lighted Gordy last year three (runs) down and he hit a grand slam and nobody said a word about that."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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