Notes: Teahen slides down in order
Gordon hits in three-hole for first time in Major League career
KANSAS CITY -- For the second straight Sunday, manager Buddy Bell made an unusual lineup switch to jolt a player out of a slump. Last week, Bell moved David DeJesus, then 3-for-his-last-30, from the leadoff spot to sixth.
The move produced terrific results, as DeJesus started a seven-game hitting streak with two hits. He returned to his customary leadoff spot Monday and continued his hot hitting. In his last 25 at-bats entering Sunday, DeJesus was batting .400.
Bell hopes he can spark similar results for Mark Teahen. Teahen, the usual No. 3 hitter, was bumped to sixth in the order for the first time since July 26, 2006. Alex Gordon, batting .375 with six extra-base hits this homestand, hit third for the first time in his Major League career.
"We talked about it yesterday, and [I] wanted to give Mark a different view and give him a little time to think before his first at-bat," Bell said. "I don't think it is going to be a long-term thing."
Teahen entered Sunday hitting .105 (2-for-19) on the homestand. His power has dropped considerably. After he slugged .517 last year, Teahen is down to .398. He hasn't homered since May 29 and has just two RBIs in July.
The move paid immediate dividends, as Teahen hit an RBI double in the second inning.
Duckworth to start: Brandon Duckworth, the team's No. 5 starter at the beginning of the season before moving to the bullpen, will be stretched out as a starter in his rehab work. Placed on the disabled list June 14 with a left ribcage strain, Duckworth will head to the team's year-round facility in Surprise, Ariz., as the team goes on the road to Minnesota and New York this week.
Bell said Duckworth will pitch in Arizona, make a few appearances for Class A Wilmington and then throw for Triple-A Omaha. He should provide the parent Royals another option to start by Aug. 24.
"We don't have any depth in our rotation, and Ducky will create some," Bell said. "He is capable of coming back before then, but we want to give him enough rehabs to where he can be stretched out. ... We didn't want to be in the same situation where are today where we don't know who is going to be the fifth starter from one start to the next."
The fifth starter has been a revolving door for the team this season. Leo Nunez, the Royals' current No. 5 and the starter Sunday afternoon, will stay in the rotation but has far more experience as a reliever in his professional career.
Bell said the reports on the three of Kansas City's top pitching prospects in the Minors -- Billy Buckner, Luke Hochevar and Tyler Lumsden -- have been "inconsistent." None of the pitchers are viable options to start long-term at this point.
John Thomson, the No. 5 starter in late June and early July, threw well in two starts, but has been on the DL since July 16 with lower back spasms. Bell said Thomson "doesn't feel as good" as Duckworth and will likely need more time than Duckworth to return.
Shealy status: Bell said Ryan Shealy, on the DL since June 30 with a left hamstring strain, could join the team on the upcoming road trip through Minnesota and New York.
Shealy is currently on rehab with Triple-A Omaha. He was the O-Royals DH on Saturday and will play first base the next three games.
"There is a real good chance, but I don't know what we would do to get him on the roster at this time," Bell said. "If it was today and he could come back, then I don't think it would happen. We are in the talking stages of trying to get him back. There are some options, but we are not sure how we are going to do that yet."
Greinke uses fastball more: Zack Greinke faced three hitters in the eighth inning Saturday night. He coaxed a ground ball from Mark Teixeria and struck out Sammy Sosa and Marlon Byrd on 98-mph fastballs.
Greinke, who has a 1.04 ERA in his six appearances, has started to use his fastball more frequently.
"For awhile, I was throwing so much offspeed that I didn't have the command with my fastball because I was not throwing it enough," he said. "Now I am throwing it more, and by throwing it more, my arm strength is more consistent. When I start throwing too many breaking balls, then I lose my fastball command."
In Buck's seat: Dr. S.P. Jothi sat in Buck O'Neil's seat for Sunday's game. Jothi started a free medical clinic for help low-income uninsured families in Parsons, Kan., 11 years ago.
Royals rundown: Buckner worked six innings of four-run (three earned) ball, but Omaha lost, 4-1, to Colorado Springs. ... Double-A Wichita won, 8-7, over Springfield on a walk-off homer by Jorge Padilla. Padilla finished 4-for-5 to raise his average to .364. Carlos Rosa pitched three innings and allowed three hits, three runs, three walks and struck out three. ... Wilmington split a doubleheader with Kinston, losing the first game, 4-0, and winning the second one, 3-1.
Class A Burlington lost to Quad Cities, 6-4. Everett Teaford allowed three runs in six innings. ... Advanced Rookie League Idaho Falls lost, 12-6, to Orem. Adrian Ortiz, the team's No. 5 pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, had a triple, two runs scored and an RBI. ... Rookie League Burlington lost, 4-2, to Greenville. Alexander Caldera pitched 1 2/3 innings with five strikeouts but allowed two runs on four hits. ... Rookie League Arizona won, 7-3, over the Arizona Giants. Sam Runion, KC's second-round pick in the 2007 Draft, tossed 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball.
Player of the day: Padilla. The outfielder delivered another huge game for Wichita with his four-hit night. Padilla is batting .364 with a .994 OPS for Wichita this season, including a .385 mark in his last 10 games.
Coming up: Ace Gil Meche will open a seven-game road trip against the Twins and Yankees. Meche (7-7, 3.76 ERA) will face the Twins' Scott Baker (4-4, 5.30 ERA) at the Metrodome on Monday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. CT.
Conor Nicholl is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.