ST. LOUIS (AP) Lorenzo Cain's hamstring injury led to a big lineup shift for the Kansas City Royals, with Kendrys Morales starting in right field for the first time since 2008 against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Morales, the Royals' principal designated hitter, batted third and played right field Wednesday night. Jarrod Dyson started in center in place of Cain, placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain.
''When you lose Cain's bat, when you lose Morales' bat coming into a National League park, that's two big bats,'' manager Ned Yost said. ''You can't do that. That made it a lot easier for me to put Mo in here.''
Yost said Morales gets plenty of work in the outfield shagging fly balls during batting practice, and also takes some grounders at first base. He has made 66 starts at DH and two at first base.
''If I wasn't comfortable with him, I wouldn't put him out there,'' Yost said. ''And he does shag like it's a game in BP.''
The Royals considered playing Morales in the outfield last year and the manager recalls, ''Guys were like scoffing at it, right?''
''But I knew he played outfield coming up in Cuba and he played center field, so he's athletic enough. He runs good routes and he'll be fine out there.''
The team made the DL move Wednesday after an MRI revealed the damage to Cain's hamstring. Yost said it was a ''grade 1-plus'' strain,'' meaning minor.
The team anticipates Cain will be ready after the All-Star break. The Royals had 12 games remaining before then.
''Hopefully by then we all feel he'll be really close if not ready to come back,'' Yost said. ''It's better than missing 15 games, so it does give us a little bit of a helping hand.''
Dyson made his fifth start in center field. He has made 21 starts in right and 12 in left.
Rookie outfielder Brett Eibner was recalled from Triple-A Omaha for his third stint with the Royals this season. The 27-year-old Eibner was batting .297 in 11 games with five doubles, a home run and seven RBIs for Kansas City.
Cain, third in AL MVP voting last season and the 2014 ALCS MVP, was batting .290 with eight homers and 39 RBIs this year.