Sep 25, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals second basemenBen Zobrist
(18) forces out Cleveland IndiansJose Ramirez
(11) at second base during the ninth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
The starting five infielders appear set. In recent Kansas City Royals games, catcher Salvador Perez, first baseman Eric Hosmer, second baseman Ben Zobrist, shortstop Alcides Escobar, and third baseman Mike Moustakas have been getting the regular starts.
This alignment doesn’t figure to change during the playoffs, unless Omar Infante is available despite his oblique injury on Sept. 18.
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Even so, Zobrist had taken over at second base even before Omar Infante‘s torn oblique (side) muscle. After being absent from the starting lineup for 11 straight days, Infante finally got a start on September 17 and responded with a career-high seven RBI’s. Ned Yost gave Infante the nod the next day, and he suffered the injury.
Infante may, or may not, be available for the playoffs. Even if he’s healthy, Infante hasn’t played very well this season due to a nagging bone spur problem in his right elbow. The long rest, however, might help him improve on his terrible .220/.234/.318 season. And, Infante does bring better defense at second base than Zobrist.
The problem is, Infante makes a poor reserve middle infielder because he doesn’t play multiple positions. Christian Colon is a better choice since he has played shortstop, second, and third base in the minors. Designated hitter Kendrys Morales is Eric Hosmer‘s backup at first. Rookie Cheslor Cuthbert could find his way onto the roster, but he only plays second and third.
At catcher, the Kansas City Royals figure to continue with All-Star Salvador Perez backed up by Drew Butera. Francisco Pena could get some consideration as a third catcher, simply because his presence would give Ned Yost more freedom to pinch run for Salvador Perez in the late innings without getting down to his last catcher.