Royals opening day approaches with a thin middle infield

03/20/2014 2:29 PM

03/20/2014 11:38 PM

Mike Moustakas stomped across the clubhouse toward his locker. In a nearby corner stood Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer.

"I’ve got to go take groundballs at second," Moustakas said.

"For real?" Hosmer asked.

"Yup."

The Royals continue to push toward Opening Day with a roster that lacks a qualified backup middle infielder. They have tried to teach Danny Valencia second base. Moustakas has also fielded grounders at the position. This will be his first in-game action there.

The Royals could use a backup, because both of their middle infielders are banged up.

Shortstop Alcides Escobar is recovering from shoulder inflammation. He is supposed to play in a minor-league game on Thursday, and could return to big-league action by Friday or Saturday.

Second baseman Omar Infante received a cortisone injecton for a bone spur in his right elbow. He hopes to resume swinging and throwing on Friday.

Here is the lineup as Bruce Chen faces the Angels:

1. Nori Aoki, RF.

2. Danny Valenca, 3B.

3. Eric Hosmer, 1B.

4. Billy Butler, DH.

5. Alex Gordon, LF.

6. Brett Hayes, C.

7. Mike Moustakas, 2B.

8. Lorenzo Cain, CF.

9. Jason Donald, SS.

Danny Duffy will also get a chance to work in relief on Thursday. The Royals scheduled him for an appearance on Wednesday, but that was scuttled after the game was called.

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