Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas is one of those young, high-ceiling players, but is off to a slow start. Nevertheless, Royals manager Ned Yost has been pleased that his young third baseman continues to battle, despite hitting .233 (10-for-43) with one home run and six RBIs during the young season.
"He can be excellent defensively," Yost said. "He's a kid that works really hard at being a good defender, works on all phases of his game -- balls down the line, balls in the hole, charging slow rollers and bunts. He was out here at 3 o'clock for 20 minutes taking ground balls, working on all aspects of his game.
"He wants to be good. He's a tremendous athlete and when you have a tremendous athlete that wants to be good, the sky's the limit for them."
Moustakas and the rest of the Royals will look to support Luke Hochevar, who returns to the mound after he was hit in the ankle by a line drive during the Royals' home opener on April 13th.
The ankle wasn't Hochevar's only source of pain. He was roughed up for seven runs in the first inning against Cleveland, but managed to get through four frames. Hochevar, who earned his first big league win against the Blue Jays on April 26, 2008, is 3-1 with a 3.41 ERA lifetime against Toronto.
Kyle Drabek, 24, will oppose Hochevar in search of a third straight strong start to begin the season. Drabek (2-0, 1.42 ERA) held the Orioles to one run over 7 1/3 innings with six strikeouts in his last outing on April 15. He backed that up by holding the Red Sox to one run in 5 1/3 innings on April 10.
"Last year, I changed up my mechanics four or five times, and when I came to Spring Training, they found one they wanted me to try that was kind of easy," Drabek said after his last outing. "It was hard at first, but [I'm] real happy with where it's at right now."
The right-hander especially feels like his mechanics this season have helped him locate the ball better.
"It's a tale of two people in some ways ... A huge step forward from where he finished last year just in his own personal maturity," said Blue Jays manager John Farrell.
Blue Jays: Arencibia still struggling
J.P. Arencibia is still struggling to find his swing this season. The Blue Jays backstop has watched his average slide all the way to .062 (2-for-32) following a fourth consecutive hitless game on Tuesday. However, he did have two hits and one RBI in Thursday's game against the Rays to bump his average up to .111.
Meanwhile, third baseman Brett Lawrie is starting to heat up. Lawrie has homered in two of his past four games, and has recorded multi-hit affairs three times in his past eight starts. Lawrie is hitting .429 (6-for-14) with runners in scoring position. His 10 home runs in his first 52 career games is the fastest to double-digit round-trippers in franchise history.
Royals: Butler bringing the lumber
Billy Butler has not made life easy for opposing pitchers so far this season. The veteran designated hitter has recorded multi-hit nights in six of his last eight games. Butler enjoyed a four-game stretch in which he doubled and scored a run each night between April 10-14. Butler is hitting .375 (18-for-48) this season with two home runs and nine RBIs.
The Blue Jays are hitting .326 (28-for-86) with runners in scoring position this season.
This is one of three 10-game homestands for the Royals, with the next coming in the first 10 games after Kansas City hosts the 2012 All-Star Game.
With Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Tigers at home, the Royals have now lost their first six home games of the season, a new franchise record.