Royals expect Mondesi's defense to improve

Young infielder made mistakes in first series vs. Twins

Royals expect Mondesi's defense to improve

HOUSTON -- The Royals can live with Raul Mondesi not being a top offensive threat.

But Mondesi, the 21-year-old who won the starting job at second base with a terrific spring, has to do what he does best -- use his athleticism to play elite defense.

That didn't happen in the series sweep at Minnesota to start the season.

Mondesi juggled a grounder and missed a chance at a sure double play in the same game, which cost the Royals a run. He also covered the wrong base another time.

And there were two other potential double plays Mondesi couldn't convert in the series, although one was trying to get the speedy Byron Buxton at first.

"He's going through some things," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The ground-ball double play, he just got too quick. He miscovered a base, stuff like that. He's just getting comfortable."

Mondesi wins second base job

On the potential Buxton double play, Mondesi's body language suggested he was surprised his throw to first was late.

"It didn't startle him," Yost said. "But at times his actions are too quick."

Mondesi wasn't offering any excuses.

"I wish I'd made every play," Mondesi said. "That experience will help me make the next play.

"I talked to [infield coach Mike Jirschel] on that one, and we looked at the video, and I did everything I could do. We know what kind of runner [Buxton] is."

Mondesi believes he'll settle down soon and show his ability.

"We can't look back," Mondesi said. "Just keep looking forward."

On a positive note, Mondesi got his first hit on Thursday, a solid single to right. Were the Royals relieved to see that hit?

"It's a relief for any of us to get a base hit right now," Yost said.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.