Notes: Berroa put on notice

Notes: Berroa put on notice

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Angel Berroa may still be the starting shortstop for the Royals season opener, but that is no longer a certainty.

Berroa struck out twice and committed an error in the Royals' 7-6 triumph over the Giants on Thursday and has struck out 12 times in 26 at-bats without a walk. He also struck out two times in his previous game, including once with the bases loaded, against the Angels.

Manager Buddy Bell, who worked with Berroa in the hitting cages after the Giants game, declared there is competition at shortstop with Andres Blanco and Alex Gonzalez also in the picture.

"First of all, Angel is still our everyday shortstop and Gonzalez and Blanco are pushing him a little bit," Bell said. "Angel is still ahead. That is a decision that more than likely will go down to the end.

"It is open. We still want Angel to be the shortstop. We still expect him to be the shortstop, but that could change in the next couple of days. He has to play better. He knows that. He wants to play better."

Berroa, who was the 2003 American League Rookie of the Year, hit .234 last year with a league-worst .259 on-base percentage.

"The thing with Angel which I need to see is a consistent approach," Bell said. "I don't care if he gets another hit, another home run down here. He just needs a consistent approach. We're doing some things with him we hope that will get him in a consistent approach and that is what he needs to do. Obviously, he has to make better contact than he did [Thursday]. He is talented enough. If you keep changing all the time it is hard to see the ball. It is hard to get any confidence. You can't play this game without confidence. Right now, he's kind of in-between."

Novice in center: Mark Teahen has been moved from third base to right field in Spring Training, but on Thursday he made his debut in center.

Teahen did a double-take when he saw "8" by his name on the lineup posted in the clubhouse.

"I'm going to have to ask somebody where '8' is," Teahen quipped.

"I think it is right behind second," locker mate Ryan Shealy said.

"Like in the middle?" Teahen asked.

He said he had never taken fly balls in center. "But I figure it is like right field just a little moved over," he said. "They say it is easier to read balls in center, so I'll find out."

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First base coach Luis Silverio mentioned to Teahen on Wednesday they were thinking about playing him some in center.

"But I didn't realize I would be playing it today," Teahen said.

Teahen made three putouts against the Giants.

"Exhilarating," Teahen said of his new experience.

So should regular center field David DeJesus be worried?

"We had a talk," Teahen said. "I had to comfort him a little this morning, but he'll get through it."

Bell said the reason Teahen played center was, if Joey Gathright does not make the team, "we don't have a guy to play center" besides DeJesus.

"So we're seeing what Teahen looks like out there," Bell said. "I thought Teahen looked pretty good in center. I don't know when we'll do that again. Probably a few more times down here. First of all, I think Teahen can play just about anywhere. It didn't surprise me that he looked comfortable out there. He said he saw the ball a little better off the bat out there than in right, which is usually the case. It is interesting. It really is."

Huber ailing: Justin Huber hurt his hamstring while running the bases in the sixth inning on Thursday. "I don't think it's anything serious," Bell said. "He was scheduled to play [Saturday], so we've got to figure that out."

Out at home: Mike Sweeney, who had two hits and three RBIs, was out at the plate on a double-steal attempt with Emil Brown on first base initially breaking for second base.

"I don't know where that came from," Bell said with a laugh. "We want to get that out of the way before we leave here. That was an incredible looking play. That is not in our playbook and it's not in theirs either anymore."

Briefly: For the second straight game, Royals pitchers did not issue a walk. ... Alex Gordon went 3-for-4 to raise his average to .429 and is 12-for-22 in his past 10 games. ... The Royals won Thursday despite giving up six home runs, all solo shots.

On deck: Brian Bannister is scheduled to start on Friday against the Mariners at Peoria. Miguel Batista will be the Mariners starter.

Alan Eskew is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.