DETROIT -- When Alberto Callaspo was moved out of the No. 3 slot in the Royals' lineup, Billy Butler moved in. He'd been batting fourth, but third was his regular spot last season and his average was .306 there.
But manager Trey Hillman is still reluctant to tinker with his No. 1 and 2 hitters, David DeJesus and Scott Podsednik. That's even though Podsednik had five steals in the first seven games and is speedier than DeJesus.
"Especially with what Pod has done, it'd seem to make more sense to put Pod [No.] 1 and David [No.] 2," Hillman said. "It's something that I've thought about ever since we signed Pod."
But DeJesus feels more comfortable in his customary leadoff spot, and batting second would be more difficult for him mentally in Hillman's view. The manager recalled telling DeJesus in Spring Training: "As soon as I put you [No.] 2, you're going to read about it because they're definitely going to write about it. And that's going to create anxiety -- you're going to start believing what you're reading."
For the record, DeJesus has been a .297 hitter as a leadoff man (613 games) but just .245 in the second slot (88 games).
Royals want Callaspo to get comfortable
DETROIT -- Alberto Callaspo was taking batting practice left-handed on Monday, drilling line drives down the left-field line and into the left-center gap.
"There you go!" Royals manager Trey Hillman told him.
Callaspo looked locked in.
"He did that yesterday and I didn't say anything to anybody because I didn't want to jinx it. But I thought, 'OK, man, he's going to go off today,' " Hillman said. "I was wrong."
Callaspo went 0-for-4 in the Royals' 10-5 pounding of the Tigers and his average sank to .200. So on Tuesday, Hillman dropped him from third in the Royals' lineup to sixth.
"I hope he gets comfortable and starts squaring balls up again," Hillman said. "It's one of those things when you hope the move gives him a little comfort. At times, he's looked like the same guy, but 50 percent of the time, he looks like he's really pressing."
If Callaspo's hitting kicks in, resembling the .300 pace of last year, he's likely to wind up in the third slot again.
"I sure hate to wait another three slots to get that bat up there," Hillman said.
Callaspo went 2-for-5 with two RBIs in Tuesday's loss to the Indians. The third baseman is now batting .233.
Kendall stays behind dish
DETROIT -- Royals outfielder Mitch Maier has been taking ground balls at third base, just in case. The club is down to three extra position players since infielder Mike Aviles was optioned to make room for a 13th pitcher.
Maier was signed as a catcher but later played third base before converting to the outfield. Willie Bloomquist is the only reserve suited for the middle infield, and he started at second base on Tuesday, giving Chris Getz a day off.
There are no days off in catcher Jason Kendall's immediate future, however. He started his eighth straight game on Tuesday and manager Trey Hillman wants Kendall, new to the Royals this year, to get a longer time to work with all of the pitchers in game conditions.
"I'm going to ride that horse a little longer. I met with him this morning and he says he feels fine, he feels great," Hillman said, and added with a smile: "He lies a lot, too."
Kendall also hits a lot. In Tuesday's 6-5 loss to the Tigers, he went 1-for-5, giving him hits in all eight games this season. He had one hit taken away after the game when the official scorer changed a ruling and gave an error to first baseman Miguel Cabrera.
Kendall is batting .310 (9-for-29) with three doubles and has walked three times. Oddly enough, he has not yet scored a run or had an RBI.
Comerica's dirt line gives hurlers direction
DETROIT -- One of the distinctive features of Comerica Park is the dirt lane that runs between the mound and home plate. It's an old-fashioned touch, often seen on diamonds of yesteryear.
But Royals right-hander Gil Meche has often said he believes that the approximately 29-inch dirt strip that runs through the green grass helps him, and he passed that along to teammate Kyle Davies, who'll pitch against the Tigers on Wednesday.
"I was talking to Gil about this yesterday and he said he's had a lot of success at this ballpark," Davies said. "I think it has a little bit to do with the line. It just gives you kind of that sense of direction where you're going. And that goes right back to me throwing strikes. I don't know the stats, but I guarantee I throw a lot more strikes here than I do at home against these guys."
Sure enough, in 16 innings at Comerica Park, Davies has walked just three batters. In 27 1/3 innings against the Tigers at Kauffman Stadium, he's walked 15.
"I think that direction kind of gives you almost like a guide point," Davies said. "It almost outlines the plate for you. I'm not saying that's the total reason that I've been a little more successful here, but I think it helps a little."
Overall against the Tigers in eight games during his career, Davies is 1-6 with a 5.61 ERA. But in three games at Comerica, he's 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA.
DETROIT -- Third baseman Josh Fields, recovering from a strained right hip in Surprise, Ariz., is making progress, but there's no date set for his return. ... Daily report on third baseman Alex Gordon: In his fifth game with Class A Wilmington, he was 1-for-3 with a double, RBI and a walk. That made him 3-for-11 with two doubles, seven walks and four hit by pitches. He's rehabbing from a broken right thumb. ... Shortstop Mike Aviles was 1-for-3 with a walk in his first game for Triple-A Omaha, a 5-3 loss to Nashville. Omaha starter Bryan Bullington held the Sounds to one unearned run and struck out seven with no walks in seven innings. Anthony Lerew absorbed the loss. ... Left fielder Paulo Orlando was 3-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs in Double-A Northwest Arkansas' 11-8 win over Corpus Christi.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.