Royals looking to pick up pace in road series

World Series champs aim to gain ground on first-place White Sox

Royals looking to pick up pace in road series

CHICAGO -- Royals manager Ned Yost had a cut-and-dried explanation for his team's pedestrian first 40 games.

"We haven't played good on the road," Yost said before Friday night's series opener against the White Sox. "We're a good team, and every year is different. ... There's no pinpoint reason for it. We just haven't played well on the road, and we have to improve on that."

What better time to start than this weekend at U.S. Cellular Field. The Royals -- who entered Friday 13-7 at home and 7-13 on the road -- came into the series only 4 1/2 games behind the first-place White Sox in the American League Central, and the opener marked the beginning of 10 consecutive games against division opponents. Kansas City went 4-2 on its most recent six-game homestand to get back to .500.

"Here the last six games, it's gotten back to normal," Yost said. "We got more grounded at home and got back to our style of play."

Now the question is whether the Royals can carry that success on the road.

Medlen starts to throw
Right-hander Kris Medlen, on the disabled list with right rotator cuff inflammation, began throwing on Friday. Medlen made 30 throws, stretching out as far as 75 feet, and said he felt good. Chris Young, on the DL with a right forearm strain, is also a few days ahead of Medlen, and both are eligible for reinstatement in the next week.

So far, Dillon Gee, Danny Duffy and the Royals' bullpen have held down the fort in their absence.

"You just get through it," Yost said. "You deal with it. Guys get hurt, all right, somebody else has got to step up given an opportunity to take advantage."

Moose expected back on Saturday
Third baseman Mike Moustakas, on the DL with a left thumb fracture, was with the team on Friday and Yost said Moustakas is expected to be activated on Saturday.

In addition, Yost said he's seeing better swings from Lorenzo Cain, Paulo Orlando, Jarrod Dyson and Salvador Perez, and the results are beginning to show.

"It's just getting [Alex] Gordon going and getting [Kendrys] Morales going from the [left] side," Yost said. "When that happens, we'll be in great shape."

Cody Stavenhagen is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.