KANSAS CITY -- Only 2,154 to go for Billy Butler.
At least that's how many knocks Butler needs to match George Brett for the Royals' all-time hits lead after cracking his 1,000th career hit in the first inning of Tuesday night's 4-1 loss to the Cardinals.
Butler received a standing ovation from the crowd and doffed his helmet in recognition. His milestone hit was a double, driving in Alex Gordon from second base.
"The fans gave me a great reception. That was a great moment, and I am appreciative of that," Butler said. "Unfortunate that it came in a game like this, got to keep grinding, but the fans treated me really well, and I am very gracious to them for that, and it made me real happy."
Brett finished his 21-year career with 3,154 hits, but Butler is one of only nine players who have achieved 1,000 in a Royals uniform.
The seven between Brett and Butler are Frank White, 2,006; Amos Otis, 1,977; Willie Wilson, 1,968; Hal McRae, 1,924; Mike Sweeney, 1,398; Joe Randa, 1,084, and Fred Patek, 1,036.
Yost tweaks lineup, moving Gordon to leadoff spot
KANSAS CITY -- The first step of a lineup overhaul by Royals manager Ned Yost came Tuesday, when he moved left fielder Alex Gordon back into the leadoff spot for the Kauffman Stadium finale against the Cardinals.
Step Two might come when catcher Salvador Perez returns from his bereavement leave. Perez will likely move into the third spot vacated by Gordon.
"We've got to try something different," Yost said. "Historically, over the last two years, our best production has come with Alex in the one [spot] and Billy [Butler] in the four. So we're looking at different ways to try to jump-start the offense a little bit."
That, Yost said, is just a starting point.
"We'll move Sal up when he gets back, too," he said. "We're going to make a couple other little changes, but we're going to wait for Sal to get here and see if we can't find ways to score more runs."
Although Yost wasn't spelling it out, the indication is that the Royals will try Perez, with a .311 average, in the No. 3 spot for the first time in his short career.
Perez has 15 RBIs with 10 doubles, a triple and a homer in 41 games this year. He had 11 homers, 16 doubles, 39 RBIs and a .301 average in his injury-abbreviated 76-game 2012. So he's shown considerable power- and run-production potential, and the Royals have sorely needed runs lately.
Upon the death of his grandmother in Venezuela, Perez returned home and began a three-to-seven-day stay on the bereavement list. There has been no indication of when he'll return.
Gordon was moved from leadoff to No. 3 in the order on May 9, coinciding with the Royals' recent slide. Gordon hit .391 with one home run and eight RBIs out of the three hole, but the club went 4-14. In 30 games as the leadoff batter, he hit .311 with five homers and 23 RBIs, while the team went 17-13.
So those were happier days.
Rookie David Lough was 4-for-5 in the No. 1 spot in Monday's 6-3 loss, but wasn't scheduled to play Tuesday night with the Cardinals starting left-hander Tyler Lyons.
On Tuesday, center fielder Lorenzo Cain was put in the third spot for the first time this year. He batted there 15 times last season.
"It's definitely different, but at the same time, you've got to get on base, drive in runs, find a way to help the team win a ballgame at the end of the night," Cain said.
With Mike Moustakas still nursing a sore quad, Miguel Tejada was back at third base.
"I imagine Moose will be back in there [Wednesday]," Yost said. "He feels much better today and is in a good spot. He passed all his tests."
Also Adam Moore, called up in Perez's absence, got his first start behind the plate. The lineup shuffle goes on.
"We just have to do something," Yost said. "So we've been looking at it, we've been studying it, we've been putting numbers to it, we've been doing the sabermetric thing, the inside-your-gut thing. We've been doing it all."
Yost runs across off-limits area at Chiefs' practice
KANSAS CITY -- As if things weren't going bad enough for Royals manager Ned Yost, he almost got busted Tuesday for gawking at the Kansas City Chiefs' practice.
Yost went for a run on the back roads of the Truman Sports Complex that the Royals share with the Chiefs and happened upon the NFL team's offseason practice session.
"I ran today and almost got arrested for a taking a peek at the Chiefs doing their minicamp. They surrounded me with their security," Yost said good-naturedly. "I'm not going to sell any secrets."
Well, NFL teams are notoriously guarded about their practice activities, and this area, unknown to Yost, happened to be off-limits.
"Hey, I just wanted to see what was going on," Yost told the security guards. "They said, 'Well, you can't be here, it's closed.'"
Yost identified himself, and the crisis passed.
"The guy said, 'Oh, hi Ned, how's it going?'"
Not too well, actually. His team lost 17 of its past 21 games, and now he almost got pinched for invading a football practice. That's when you know you're in a slump.
GM Moore believes best options are in Majors
KANSAS CITY -- Despite the Royals' recent struggles, general manager Dayton Moore is confident they have their best lineup on the field.
"Right now, there is nobody [in the Minors] we feel is better than the alternatives we have up here," Moore said. "Guys continue to get better down there, too, and we continue to monitor it."
When considering the future of young struggling players like Mike Moustakas, Moore said he considers three factors before sending a player down.
"Is this player staying positive and working hard?" Moore said. "Does the coaching staff remain positive in this struggling player, and do his teammates continue to rally around this struggling player? As long as those three things are occurring, it is very difficult as the general manager to make a change or want to make a change."
Moore makes season's first start behind plate
KANSAS CITY -- Catcher Adam Moore started his first game of the year Tuesday night against the Cardinals.
"I'm really excited and looking forward to it," Moore said. "I've already faced this guy [Tyler Lyons] down in [Triple-A] Omaha, too, so I have a good idea of what he's going to have tonight. I'm just going to go out there and have fun."
Moore, who had stints in the Major Leagues the past four seasons, opened 2012 on the Mariners' disabled list before being claimed off waivers by the Royals on July 7. He appeared in four games for the Royals last season and went 2-for-11 with a home run and a double.
With regular catcher Salvador Perez on the bereavement list, the Royals promoted Moore from Triple-A Omaha to share the job with George Kottaras.
Moore hit .190 with two doubles, five homers and 12 RBIs for the Storm Chasers.
Prospect Lamb named Pitcher of Week in Class A
KANSAS CITY -- John Lamb was named Pitcher of the Week in the Carolina League. The 22-year-old tossed seven shutout innings, allowing three hits and no walks with eight strikeouts for Class A Advanced Wilmington last week. The Royals' fifth-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com, is recovering from a 2011 Tommy John surgery and is 3-4 with a 5.27 ERA this season.
Raul Mondesi, son of the former National League Rookie of the Year Award winner and two-time Gold Glove Award winner of the same name, hit for the cycle Monday night for Class A Lexington. The 17-year-old switch-hitting shortstop has three home runs in the last two games and is batting .342 in his last 10 games. He is hitting .247 with four home runs on the season.
Royals' former volleyball star set for HOF induction
KANSAS CITY -- Royals coordinator for media services Dina (Wathan) Blevins, daughter of former Royals player and manager and current assistant to player development John Wathan, will be inducted into the Pittsburg State (Kan.) Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday, Nov. 2.
Blevins was a volleyball All-American -- the first at Pittsburg State -- and a three-time All-Region outside hitter from 2000-03. She led the Gorillas to their first NCAA Tournament berth her senior year and won All-MIAA recognition each of her four years, including first-team honors in her final two seasons. She holds eight Pittsburg State records and her career digs mark ranks second all-time in NCAA Division II.
She and her two brothers, Dusty and Derek, were all active in sports. Dusty played briefly for the Royals in 2002 and is currently a manager in the Philadelphia system. Derek is recently retired from pro ball after playing 11 years in the Minor Leagues.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.