KANSAS CITY -- Somewhat overshadowed in the fanfare over catcher Manny Pina's Major League debut was third baseman Yamaico Navarro's first game in a Royals uniform on Wednesday.
Navarro went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored in the Royals' 6-2 victory. The 23-year-old was acquired in a trade with Boston on Saturday and manager Ned Yost liked what he saw firsthand when the Royals and Red Sox split a series in Boston last week.
In Thursday's 9-4 win over Baltimore, Navarro went 1-for-4 with a double, a run scored and three RBIs.
"He's really got some tools and you can project him being much better than a utility player," Yost said. "He's got a chance, at 23, with those tools."
Navarro is spot-starting for Mike Moustakas, who is getting a couple days off to work on his swing. Yost said Navarro will be used in a utility role like former Royals Wilson Betemit and Mike Aviles.
Yost said Navarro, who also plays shortstop, may start in place of Alcides Escobar for Sunday afternoon's game against the Tigers.
Pina back in starting lineup after fine debut
KANSAS CITY -- Manny Pina's Major League debut was so good, the rookie catcher earned a second straight start behind the plate for Thursday's series finale against the Orioles.
And judging by the applause on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium, Royals fans won't have a problem with that.
"Our fans do a great job of connecting with all of our young guys. I heard them cheering him when he got up and I thought what are they cheering about? And I looked up and saw Manny Pina is making his Major League debut and his first Major League at-bat, and the fans were cheering him on," manager Ned Yost said. "Our fans are really good about that. It's a great baseball town."
Pina got his first hit, a double, in the Royals' 6-2 win over the Orioles and was complimented by Yost and starter Luke Hochevar for calling a good game. Yost felt comfortable enough with Pina -- who's known for his defense -- to have him catch veteran Jeff Francis on Thursday.
"Yeah, veteran on the mound," Yost said. "But [Pina] held his own [Wednesday] night. He did a good job, there wasn't a lot of shaking out there, there wasn't a lot of indecision on his part. Yeah, Treanor will be back soon, we want to get a little look at Manny. He did a good job [on Wednesday] and we'll give him a shot again [Thursday]."
There are certainly no arguments coming from Pina.
"My second game straight," he said with a big smile. "Gotta be ready."
Pina went 1-for-4 with a run scored in Thursday's 9-4 win over the Orioles. His lone hit was a one-out double in the sixth inning that started a six-run barrage and eventually ended O's starter Zach Britton's night.
Hochevar is workhorse for Royals' rotation
KANSAS CITY -- Luke Hochevar's 7 2/3 innings in Wednesday's 6-2 win over the Orioles put him at 145 1/3 innings for the season. His previous single-season high was 143, in 2009.
Still, manager Ned Yost isn't too worried about watching Hochevar's innings. With Danny Duffy in his first Major League season and Jeff Francis just over a year removed from missing all of 2009 with shoulder problems, Yost has other guys to worry about.
"We're really watching Duffy's innings because he's a young guy," Yost said. "We're watching Francis' innings because this is the first year that he's come back, the first full year after being healthy [after] the end of last year. We'll monitor Luke's innings too, but there's no concern on that right now."
Yost said his staff starts to become cautious when a player has thrown 40 innings over his previous season high. Right now, there aren't any concerns about the Royals' young bullpen, which features seven pitchers who made their big league debut in 2010 or later.
When rosters expand with September callups, Yost can start inserting new pitchers into the rotation when needed.
"We'll do that for sure, probably with Duffy," he said. "Duffy's got like five or six starts left through August and we'll look at probably backing him off in September. But once the rosters expand, you've got more arms and the ability to do it easy."
Moose delivers in clinic for Special Olympics
KANSAS CITY -- Mike Moustakas might have a future career as a hitting coach -- or a Home Run Derby pitcher.
Moustakas served up some big hits to 80 Special Olympics athletes from Kansas and Missouri during Thursday afternoon's free instructional clinic hosted by the Royals.
"They were hitting me hard today. It's probably a good thing I got off the mound," Moustakas said. "But yeah, they had a lot of talent out there. They were dropping some bombs on me, which was awesome. It was fun."
Moustakas, as well as pitchers Tim Collins and Nate Adcock, and outfielder Mitch Maier, each ran a different activity as the athletes were broken up into four groups, rotating between each Major Leaguer's station.
"It was neat, it was really neat," Adcock said. "I got to be around those kids and adults, it was very humbling."
Moustakas threw batting practice and offered hitting tips, while Collins ran a bullpen session in center field. Maier worked on catching and throwing, while Adcock put the athletes through a stretch routine based off what the Royals do in warmups.
"Just basically let them do their own thing and have fun," Collins said. "I told them to give me their best windup and throw it as hard as they can."
Afterward, the four Royals signed autographs for the participants inside, capping off a rewarding experience for the players.
"It's funny, you see their faces, they're smiling and it's like I'm having more fun than they are, and that's what the best part about it is," Moustakas said.
Adam Holt is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.