Hosmer getting into swing of things at plate
Royals first baseman in midst of 25-for-75 stretch entering Sunday's action
KANSAS CITY -- First baseman Eric Hosmer is "not quite there" but is closer to realizing his considerable potential at the plate, according to manager Ned Yost.
"He's improving tremendously, but when Hoz gets up around .300, which I'm sure he's going to do over the rest of this season, it's going to be because he's able to pull the ball more efficiently, which he is really starting to do now," Yost said.
"And that's the key. He's got tremendous power to the pull side, he's got very good power to the off field. But he hasn't utilized in the last five, six months his pull power. But he's getting his swing freed up, he's starting to get his bat head back out and, when he's able to pull balls with a little more frequency, that's when he's going to be back to where what I think he can be."
The left-handed Hosmer raised his average from .244 on May 18 to .277 going into Sunday's game against the Astros with a 25-for-75 (.333) spurt. That included half of his 12 extra-base hits this season.
"I just have a better approach going in there and I'm just trusting my stuff, just going and letting it happen and not trying to do too much," Hosmer said. "Basically, just trying to keep everything real simple."
Hosmer likes working with the new hitting coaches, George Brett and Pedro Grifol.
"The last couple of years George's always been in Spring Training, but this is the first time we've come and worked with him on a day-to-day basis, and Pedro as well," Hosmer said. "Pedro has been real good with all the scouting reports and gives us a real good plan to go up there with. Just having George in the dugout is real exciting and he's a competitor just like all of us, and I know all of us look forward to keep working with him."
Hosmer was a rookie sensation in 2011, when he hit .293 with 49 extra-base hits, including 19 home runs with 78 RBIs. Last year, he fell off to .232/14/60 and struggled to produce earlier this season.
"He's not quite there. He's getting better because he's a guy that can do a lot of things with the baseball and he's getting closer and closer every single day," Yost said. "So I'm really happy with the way that he's progressing and I feel like he's starting to loosen up. This week, he's pulled more balls and he's found the 3-4 hole. He's starting to swing the bat pretty good."
Yost says Royals are responding to Brett
KANSAS CITY -- George Brett's influence as interim hitting coach for the last 12 days has been a positive experience for the Royals' players in the view of manager Ned Yost.
"They're listening to what George has to say, they love his approach," Yost said. "Up until George came on board, everything was a mechanical fix and George hasn't been thrusting mechanics down their throat. It's been more about slowing the game down, slowing their mechanics down, freeing up their swing. Getting them to understand the difference between what it feels like for a good swing or what it feels like for a bad swing, so you can make adjustments and get back to that good swing."
Brett has 3,154 hits to back him up.
"I think he's made a huge impact so far," Yost said.
Maybe it's a coincidence, but the Royals are 7-3 in Brett's first 10 games on the staff.
Wilmington's Smith named to All-Star squad
KANSAS CITY -- Pitcher Kyle Smith of the Royals' Class A Wilmington (Del.) club was named to the Carolina League's All-Star team.
Smith, a right-hander, has a 4-1 record and a 1.92 ERA in 11 starts. His stats include 62 strikeouts against 19 walks.
From Santaluces High in Lantana, Fla., Smith was a fourth-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. Last year, he was a combined 5-3 with a 2.86 ERA in one game for Rookie Idaho Falls and 13 games for Class A Kane County.
• David Lough, subbing for Lorenzo Cain in center field on Sunday, started at his third outfield spot in three days. He played left on Saturday, right on Friday.
• Through Saturday, the Royals continued to lead the Majors in hitting after two outs, at .283 (190-for-672). Alex Gordon was the individual leader at .440 (33-for-75).
• First baseman Matt Fields' two home runs in Double-A Northwest Arkansas' 6-3 win over Arkansas gave him 14, which ranks fourth in the Texas League.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.