Offensive woes continue to plague Cain

Offensive woes continue to plague Cain

ANAHEIM -- Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain had just completed a vigorous weight-lifting session when he walked over to his locker and semi-collapsed on his chair, exhausted.

"Guess I'll grab some bench here, too," Cain said, laughing, knowing he wasn't in the starting lineup for the first time in 2016 on Wednesday night against the Angels.

Manager Ned Yost decided to give Cain a break as he tries to reboot his system in the midst of a 5-for-33 slump. Cain has zero extra-base hits in that span.

"This feels like the worst slump of my career," Cain said. "But you know, that's baseball."

Actually, as Cain thought about it for a minute, he remembered an even worse slump.

"I think it was 2007 in the Minors," Cain said. "I started out like 0-for-25 and then I got a knock, and then I was 1-for-50 I think. That was bad."

Like all players in such droughts, Cain has no idea how he got into it, or how he'll get out of it. Usually his legs and his speed keep him out of extended slumps with a variety of infield hits. Last year he had 23 such hits. He has three this season.

"Got to find some of those, too," Cain said. "I just haven't hit them in fortunate places to do that."

Cain's other slump buster always has been what has been dubbed the "LoCain Triangle," the area of the outfield behind the second baseman and in front of the center fielder and right fielder. Cain always has dumped plenty of hits in that area.

"Got to find that place again," Cain said, shaking his head. "Where did it go?"

Yost doesn't believe opponents are pitching Cain any differently this season.

"He's just going through what every hitter goes through now and then," Yost said.

Yost knows Cain has a major influence on the offense when he is going right.

"Just one hit will get him going," Yost said. "And yes, he's a big part of our offense. He's a run-producer. He's a table-setter. He's tremendous on the bases, great baserunner.

"He's really developed into a real proficient offensive producer for our lineup. He can hit the ball to all fields. He's got power. A lot of things he can do. He's well-rounded."

There is no other option, Cain said, but to keep working until he fights his way out.

"Just have to keep competing," he said. "Keep grinding away. It'll come around."

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