The right fit: Dyson settling in nicely for Royals

The right fit: Dyson settling in nicely for Royals

ANAHEIM -- All off-season, the Royals touted the skill set of outfielder Jarrod Dyson.

And when the Royals passed on re-signing right fielder Alex Rios, and when they didn't sign another free-agent right fielder, it was clear they wanted to find out if Dyson, 31, was ready to be their everyday guy.

So far so good, as Dyson went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs in a 9-4 loss to the Angels on Tuesday, lifting his batting average to .333 this season.

An oblique injury in Spring Training delayed his progress, but Dyson now has seven starts under his belt and manager Ned Yost and his staff have been impressed.

"He's been making great plays," Yost said. "He's working really hard at it. Like Gordy (Alex Gordon), he's shagging really hard during the first group of BP. That's how you get comfortable in your position. You practice like it's a game."

The Royals feel comfortable giving Dyson the majority of starts in right field because they know he won't let them down defensively. Under general manager Dayton Moore, if you can't defend, you won't play.

"You got to hit, too," Yost said. "But we put a real premium on defense. It's important for us to play sound defensive baseball."

Dyson's speed is well-documented. But maybe what some opponents take lightly is Dyson's arm. He already has two outfield assists, including one Monday against the Angels. He would have had a third but an Orioles runner avoided a tag-out in a rundown after Dyson appeared to nail him at second base.

"We always knew he had a right-field arm," Yost said. "For a little guy, he's got an above average arm. And he's really accurate with it."

Dyson understands other teams may take his arm lightly.

"I feel like I got a decent arm," Dyson said. "But a lot of people going to run on me. They see a small guy, they probably don't pay much attention. I'd see a small guy I wouldn't, either."

Dyson primarily has played in center field for the Royals over his six-plus seasons -- 307 starts there, just 23 in right field.

"But I played right field in college," Dyson said. "But it's just been awhile since I've been out there consistently."

Dyson wasn't good enough to play center field at Southwest Mississippi Community College? Who was better?

"A guy named Pat Barnes," Dyson said, laughing. "He actually got drafted by the Nationals. He just didn't sign. I don't know what happened. But he could play. He was good."

Dyson plans on holding onto his right-field position now that he has it.

"I'm just getting more comfortable," Dyson said. "The thing about (injury) rehabbing when I did, I got some reps (at Omaha) in right field. But guys up here hit the ball a lot harder.

"But I'll be OK. It'll be good."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.