Goodyear, Ariz. — Terry Francona named his opening-day starter and then watched the Kansas City Royals thump a couple of Cleveland’s relievers.
Billy Butler homered and drove in three runs Tuesday for the unbeaten Royals in a 4-1 win, handing Cleveland its first loss in six spring games.
Before the game, Francona told Justin Masterson in the dugout that he would be the Indians’ starting pitcher in Toronto on April 2.
Francona didn’t think it was an odd venue to make such an announcement.
“I was excited to tell him and didn’t feel like holding it in,” he said. “I just wanted to let Masty get his legs under him. He’s the leader of our staff. We want him to be the leader. I think it’s an honor.”
It will be Masterson’s second season-opening start. A year ago, the 28-year-old struck out 10 over eight innings against the Blue Jays in Cleveland, allowing two hits and one run in a game that the Indians went on to lose in 16 innings, 7-4.
Royals manager Ned Yost has yet to reveal rotation plans. In fact, Wade Davis became the first rotation pitcher used this spring by Kansas City. Acquired with fellow right-hander James Shields from Tampa Bay this winter, Davis started and gave up one single over two innings.
“He was real solid, kept the ball down and changed speeds well,” Yost said.
Butler singled in a first-inning run off loser Matt Albers and a two-run homer off Giovanni Soto in the fifth.
“Billy just hits, no matter what time of year,” Yost said. “Another great day for him.”
Eric Hosmer had an RBI triple in the Royals’ third off Bryan Shaw and Matt Carson hit his second home run for Cleveland, in the eighth off Brian Sanches.