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Ned Yost on Billy Butler wanting to play first base: “I’d like to be an astronaut”

Apr 19, 2011, 11:46 AM EDT

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Billy Butler spent the past two seasons as the Royals’ primary first baseman, starting 143 games there in 2009 and another 126 games there in 2010, but this year manager Ned Yost has opted to go with Kila Ka’aihue at first base while using Butler at designated hitter.

Butler is still holding out hope that his glove won’t merely collect cobwebs for the rest of his career, telling Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star “there’s no doubt” he’d prefer to be playing first base “but I’m not going to make an issue out of not playing over there.”

Asked if he understands Butler’s desire to play first base, manager Ned Yost replied:

Sure I do, but you know what, I’d like to be an astronaut … and for some reason, they just won’t let me. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes, people find their niche.

Ka’aihue is far from a sure thing to be in the Royals’ long-term plans, but with various big bats coming up through their stocked farm system odds are Butler will always be the most obvious DH choice. There have certainly been plenty of worse-fielding regulars at first base over the years, but Butler is never going to be anything but below average there and the time at DH isn’t hurting his production at the plate, as he’s hitting .368 with a 1.037 OPS through 16 games.

He has a much better chance of being an everyday first baseman again than Yost does of being an astronaut, but neither is an especially great idea.

  1. BC - Apr 19, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    Yost has proven he can win absolutely nothing as a manager. Chipwich.

  2. wurst2first - Apr 19, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    Terez A. Paylor is the worst pseudonym ever.

  3. kcroyal - Apr 19, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    Kila better find his stroke or Billy will be playing more in the field. Not too sure how much longer the Royals are willing to give Kila, hopefully till the ASB, but it’s been pretty rough so far and the Royals wont care that his on base skills are much better than Melky, or Frenchy, or most of the lineups. Give him time to adjust to ML pitching. I think all he needs is a bit of confidence.

  4. saucepaws - Apr 19, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    KC has to be hoping Kila can heat up and give them something resembling a decent return at the ASB, when they decide to commit fully to playing Hosmer and Moustakas and the rest of the kids. That said, this is Dayton Moore…

  5. banksatdixie - Apr 19, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    “I want to be pimps from Oakland or Cowboys from Texas, but its not Halloween. Count Chocula. Peter Pan.”

  6. Tyree Studio - Apr 19, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    Butler better get used to DH now, because Hosmer has legit gold-glove pontential.

    “I’d like to be a fan of a championship team … and for some reason, the Royals just won’t let me.”

  7. sportsdrenched - Apr 19, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    With Greinke being gone Royals fans need someone to step up and give awesome quotes to the media. Good to see Ned doing his part.

    Not sure why there is a controversy. Kila is the better defender, they’re both in the line-up…for now.

    I think with Hosmer, and Clint Robinson behind him. Kila is the odd man out. Oh No! Orginazational Depth. We Royals fans aren’t real sure how to handle this.

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