Royals might need a rare pinch hit in Series

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
World Series Game 2 Highlight-Ary


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Playing under American League rules with few reliable options on the bench this season, no manager had as little use for pinch hitters as Kansas City's Ned Yost.

Now with the World Series shifting to San Francisco for Game 3 on Friday night, when the pitcher will bat instead of the designated hitter in the NL park, Yost might need to make some extra moves.

Fortunately for the Royals, Billy Butler provides a potent bat to call upon - even if the slugger will get just one chance in the batter's box instead of his usual four.

"It's not a disappointment at all. It's just the different rules," Butler said. "I'll be prepared for whatever the team needs, and hopefully I'll come up in a big situation and contribute in a way. A lot of times in the National League you empty out your bench, obviously, more than you do in the American League."

Butler already has three hits in the Series. He had a pair of RBI singles as the Royals beat the Giants 7-2 in Game 2.

The righty-hitting Butler normally bats between lefties Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon, making it tougher for opponents to match up late in the game with their bullpen.

That will all change for the next three games, when Butler is set to begin the day on the bench.

Not that NL rules are foreign to Yost, who managed the Milwaukee Brewers from 2003-08 before turning around the Royals franchise and leading them back to their first World Series since 1985.

Still, Kansas City had a major league-low 51 pinch-hit opportunities this season - that was 26 fewer than the next team, the Baltimore Orioles. The Royals went 9 for 43 in those chances with two home runs, six RBIs, six walks, one sacrifice bunt and a hit by pitch.

21 PHOTOS
Royals 2014 Postseason
See Gallery
Royals might need a rare pinch hit in Series

September 26: Clinched spot in AL Wild Card playoff

Jarrod Dyson #1 of the Kansas City Royals (R) hugs third base coach third base coach Mike Jirschele #59 after defeating the Chicago White Sox to clinch a Wild Card berth at U.S. Cellular Field on September 26, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. The Royals defeated the White Sox 3-1. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

Kansas City Royals fans celebrate after their team defeated the Chicago White Sox to clinch a wildcard spot at U.S. Cellular Field on September 26, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. The Royals defeated the White Sox 3-1. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

September 30: Defeated Oakland Athletics in AL Wild Card game

The Kansas City Royals take the field prior to the national anthem ahead of action against the Oakland Athletics in the American League Wild Card at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. (John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/MCT via Getty Images)

The Kansas City Royals' Eric Hosmer is tagged out at home in the second inning by Oakland Athletics catcher Geovany Soto in the American League Wild Card at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. (John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/MCT via Getty Images)
Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates with treammates after scoring on a wild pitch in the eighth inning during their American League Wild Card game against Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium on September 30, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals scores on a wild pitch in the eighth inning during their American League Wild Card game against Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium on September 30, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain (6) smiles with his teammates after the Royals defeated the Oakland Athletics 9-8 in 12 innings in the AL wild-card playoff baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

October 2: Began ALDS against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Kansas City Royals stand during the national anthem prior to Game One of the American League Division Series on October 2, 2014 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Matt Brown/Angels Baseball LP/Getty Images)

Mike Moustakas #8 of the Kansas City Royals tags out Collin Cowgill #7 of the Los Angeles Angels at third base in the eighth inning during Game Two of the American League Division Series at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on October 3, 2014 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
The Kansas City Royals' Eric Hosmer shouts as he slides into home with the game's first run in the tsecond inning against the Los Angeles Angels in Game 2 of the American League Division Series at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, in Anaheim, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. (John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/MCT via Getty Images)
Kansas City Royals' Eric Hosmer celebrates his two-run home run against the Los Angeles Angels in the 11th inning of Game 2 of baseball's AL Division Series in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

October 5: Won ALDS over Los Angeles, 3 games to none

Greg Holland #56 celebrates with Norichika Aoki #23 of the Kansas City Royals after defeating the Los Angeles Angels 8-3 in Game Three of the American League Division Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 5, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

October 10: Began ALCS against the Baltimore Orioles

Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon (4) waits in the dugout before the start of Game 1 of the American League baseball championship series against the Baltimore Orioles Friday, Oct. 10, 2014, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum )

Baltimore Orioles first baseman Steve Pearce, left, tags the Kansas City Royals' Alex Gordon in a pick-off at first to end the top of the 5th inning in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun/MCT via Getty Images)
Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain scores on a hit by by Eric Hosmer during the first inning of Game 2 of the American League baseball championship series against the Baltimore Orioles Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas makes a catch on a ball hit by Baltimore Orioles' Adam Jones during the sixth inning of Game 3 of the American League baseball championship series Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

October 15: Won ALCS over Baltimore, 4 games to none

Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Greg Holland and catcher Salvador Perez celebrate after defeating against the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 in Game 4 of the American League baseball championship series Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. The Royals advance to the World Series. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Eric Hosmer #35 and Mike Moustakas #8 of the Kansas City Royals celebrate their 2 to 1 win over the Baltimore Orioles to sweep the series in Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 15, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates their 2 to 1 win over the Baltimore Orioles to sweep the series in Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 15, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
The Kansas City Royals and their fans celebrate with the William Harridge Award after their 2 to 1 win over the Baltimore Orioles to sweep the series in Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 15, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

San Francisco's Michael Morse made the adjustment to pinch hitting in the playoffs, though it's hardly his first choice. The left fielder was limited because of a lingering oblique injury that forced him to miss all but one game in September.

Morse delivered a tying, pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning of the NL Championship Series clincher against St. Louis last week.

"It was a lot of hard work. I was determined to get back and to get back and be able to help the team," he said. "It meant a lot to me personally, and it was very humbling, and it was awesome."

Morse was the Giants' DH in the first two games of the World Series. He drove in a run in the opener.

The only player on the Royals' World Series roster to pinch hit this postseason is Josh Willingham, who has one hit in four tries.

Not that Yost considers his club at a loss as the Series moves to AT&T Park tied at 1-all.

"I don't really look at it as an advantage or disadvantage. I think that in the National League to have a bat like Billy Butler's on the bench coming in a situation, it could be the fourth inning, it could be the fifth inning or the sixth inning with guys in scoring position, that could be the difference," Yost said. "It's a different style of game, but I don't see where it's a huge disadvantage to us."

In the regular season as a pinch hitter, Butler went 4 for 6 with a home run and a walk. For his career, he's 11 of 35 with two homers, four RBIs and seven walks. Willingham is 14 for 65 with three homers and 13 RBIs lifetime as a pinch hitter.

Butler figures the team with the "better and deeper bench" will have the edge. And the Royals are plenty confident in their backups.

"We're obviously playing their rules, but I feel like we have a good bench," Butler said. "I've had pretty good success in my career as a pinch hitter. I basically go up there and my job every day is basically like four pinch hits. Basically treat it as that."

Yost said other aspects of the NL style aren't strange to him, either. Not that everyone understands the nuances.

"As a group, we're not afraid of the National League game. We understand the National League game. We understand the value and when to double-switch. So, I think that our club is more suited for it," Yost said.

"There are times you want to double-switch with the player and you tell them, `OK, get ready because if this guy gets on, we're going to double-switch,' and they're like, `What? What? What?' ... `Just run out to the field. I'll tell you which spot to go in and just tell the guy that's out there that he's got to come on in."`

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners