KANSAS CITY -- Now that the Royals' center and right field mix includes Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson and Justin Maxwell, the nature of the blend is uncertain.
Regular right fielder Nori Aoki, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday, is out for at least another two weeks with a groin injury and manager Ned Yost is pondering how he'll operate in those two spots.
Alex Gordon is the everyday left fielder and Lorenzo Cain has been a regular, mostly in center and sometimes in right, although he usually gets one or two days off a week. The question is how Yost will utilize Dyson, a left-handed hitter, and Maxwell, a right-handed hitter.
"I don't know yet. I haven't figured it out. We'll definitely go with the hot hand," Yost said. "If Maxwell gets hot, we'll probably go with Maxie. If Dice gets hot, we'll probably go more with Dice.
"They're different players. Maxie's got more home-run power, Dice has got more speed. If he can take his walks and find ways to get on base, he's a real threat."
When Dyson plays, he'll be in center field. When Maxwell plays, he'll be in right field. Cain can fill either spot.
With left-hander Roenis Elias starting for the Mariners on Sunday, Maxwell was in right field, Dyson was on the bench and Cain was in center -- and leading off for the first time this season. Why was that?
"The correct numbers. He's got a .417 on-base the past couple of weeks. That's all I need to know," Yost said.
Healthy Valencia recalled; Coleman optioned
KANSAS CITY -- Third baseman Danny Valencia is back again, and relief pitcher Louis Coleman is gone again as the Royals made a roster move on Sunday.
Valencia, who'd been on the disabled list with a left hand injury, returned from three rehab games with Triple-A Omaha, He was 3-for-11 (.273) with a home run, enough to show his hand was healed.
Coleman was optioned to Omaha for the second time this season.
Manager Ned Yost indicated that he'd return to a platoon arrangement with the right-handed-hitting Valencia and the left-handed-hitting Mike Moustakas. Valencia was in the lineup on Sunday against Mariners left-hander Roenis Elias.
Before his injury, Valencia was batting .289 (11-for-38) against left-handed pitchers and .194 (6-for-31) against right-handed pitchers.
"He's probably going to face most lefties right now," Yost said.
Moustakas has batted .125 (4-for-32) against lefties and .184 (29-for-158) against righties. The third baseman has six of his eight home runs against right-handed pitching.
Coleman appeared in just one game since being recalled from his earlier trip to Omaha and was ineffective. In one inning on Tuesday at Detroit, he gave up a home run to Ian Kinsler, a walk and a single.
His departure also reduces the number of pitchers in the bullpen from eight to seven.
"We've got too many guys in the bullpen, and we wanted him to go down and continue to work on some things," Yost said. "We want him to get his two-seamer going, we want him to get his slider a little bit tighter."
Coleman had a 2.16 ERA in five relief outings for Omaha, but what Yost saw at Detroit was not encouraging.
"He had the big slurvy slider. He had a four-seam fastball. He was behind in the count." Yost said. "He said, 'Well, that's the way I pitched in Triple-A.' Yeah, because you can get guys out like that at Triple-A. It doesn't work here."
Yost also noted that Coleman's fastball has lost about two miles an hour.
In 18 appearances for Kansas City this season, Coleman had a 6.41 ERA and opponents were batting .325 against him. In 2013, Coleman had a 0.61 ERA in 27 games and held opponents to a .186 average.
"He had that last year, he's just got to get it going," Yost said. "And this bullpen was built for him to be in it. We need to get him right."
Moving a pitcher out of the bullpen also gives Yost some additional flexibility with four bench players instead of three.
Escobar day to day with left shin contusion
KANSAS CITY -- Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar left Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Mariners after the sixth inning because of a bruised left shin.
Escobar was struck in the leg by left-hander Roenis Elias' pitch in the second inning, but he remained in the game. Escobar played four more innings before being replaced by backup infielder Pedro Ciriaco.
"It just swelled way up and got real sore on him," manager Ned Yost said. "He went as far as he could. He's a tough kid. It got him right in the shin. When I went down and looked at it, he had a big knot on it."
X-rays taken at Kauffman Stadium were negative and Escobar's availability is considered day to day, but he has not missed a game this season. Escobar planned to play on Monday night against the Dodgers.
"I'll be ready, you know me," he said.
Royals set for Greinke's return trip to The K
KANSAS CITY -- The endings weren't pleasant but Zack Greinke couldn't be blamed for the loss either time.
Greinke will make his third start as a visiting player against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium on Monday night with the Dodgers. The first two times came in 2012, once with the Brewers and, after he'd been traded at midseason, again with the Angels. He pitched very well each time and each time his team lost after he left the game.
On June 12, 2012, Greinke's return was overshadowed when Royals starter Luis Mendoza had a no-hitter going for six innings. But Greinke pitched seven strong innings for Milwaukee and was pulled with the score 1-1.
The Royals' run off him came as Alex Gordon pounded a Greinke offering into the right-field fountains. The Royals won, 2-1, when in the eighth, Gordon doubled off reliever Francisco Rodriguez and scored on Billy Butler's single.
On Sept. 15, 2012, Greinke was within two outs of a 2-0 win for Los Angeles but when Gordon singled, Angels manager Mike Scioscia brought in closer Ernesto Frieri.
Butler blasted a home run far over the center-field wall for a 2-2 tie. And then, Salvador Perez belted a drive high off the yellow foul pole in left for a walk-off victory.
Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer played in those games, but what he also remembers is what an impact Greinke had on Kansas City in 2009 in winning the American League Cy Young Award. Hosmer was in the Minor Leagues then, but he and his teammates followed the Kansas City team on TV.
"I remember watching the games when he was in that Cy Young season. It seemed like every game he was pitching, this place was packed so there was a lot of good energy," Hosmer said. "I think it'll be fun. He came up with a lot of these guys so it'll be fun for guys like Gordo to see him again."
Especially since Gordon is 3-for-7 against Greinke.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.