KANSAS CITY -- Perhaps Mike Moustakas' production hasn't improved just yet, but his attitude certainly has since his return from the Minor Leagues. Take it from manager Ned Yost.
"Much better attitude. All the things that used to affect him before he left are not affecting him now," Yost said on Monday. "You know, he'd hit a ball hard and make an out, it'd be like the world is coming to an end. Now he's back to the dugout, he hits that top step rooting for the next guy. ... He's playing hard and his attitude is great."
Moustakas, with a big smile, acknowledged that his skipper is correct.
"Going down to Triple-A made me realize how much I love being in the big leagues and how much fun being in the big leagues is," he said. "I had a great time down there with those guys -- a great group of guys -- but this is where I want to be. Winning ballgames here is a lot different than winning ballgames at Triple-A.
"Just going down there rejuvenated everything for me. I had fun and relaxed. I told myself when I was down there that when I got back up here, I was going to have that same attitude and that same mindset. I have and it's been a blast. It's a lot of fun."
Since returning from Triple-A Omaha, Moustakas has played eight games and has gone 4-for-27 (.148) with two doubles and three RBIs. So his batting average remains stalled at .151.
Moustakas stayed in Triple-A only the minimum 10 days, recalled immediately after his replacement at third base, Danny Valencia, aggravated a hand injury and went on the disabled list. A longer stay had been envisioned for Moustakas.
"Probably two weeks," Yost said. "It all depended on how well Valencia was doing and how well [Moustakas] was doing. But it became a moot point when Danny got hurt."
Before Moustakas was sent down, he and Valencia had been put in a platoon arrangement. Moustakas is a left-handed batter, Valencia right-handed.
It'll be a while before Valencia can return, and Yost isn't certain how he'll handle the third-base situation when he does.
"When Danny comes back, we'll see where Moose is at and Danny is at and go from there," Yost said. "You always go with the hot hand. The hope is that Moose gets hot like he did last year -- about the middle of the June -- and he went from .150 to .240. We'll see where we are when the time comes and we'll make a decision."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.