KANSAS CITY -- Still nursing a bruised right knee, Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas again was out of the starting lineup for Sunday's series finale with the Rangers.
Moustakas sustained the injury on a diving defensive play against the Mariners on July 28, then aggravated it while sliding in the Royals' series against Cleveland. Moustakas also was out of the lineup on Friday against Texas, while Yuniesky Betancourt got the start at third base in two of the three games against the Rangers.
Royals manager Ned Yost said that while Moustakas can play with the injury, as he did on Saturday, giving him days off would prevent him from being unable to play.
"It's a bone bruise. It's not a major issue. It's a playable thing, but it's going to be sore for a couple weeks," Yost said. "You just pick your opportunities to give him breaks when you can. It's something he can definitely play through. You don't want to get it to the point where it gets unplayable. Any time you can give him a break, it's going to be advantageous to him."
Gordon gets rare off-day against Rangers
KANSAS CITY -- And you thought the days of 102 straight workdays ended in the early 1900s.
Royals left fielder Alex Gordon finally received an off-day on Sunday following 102 consecutive starts. Gordon's last off-day came in the fourth game of the season: April 9 against Oakland. And he pinch hit in that game, too. Gordon was the only Royal to appear in all of the team's first 106 contests.
Obviously, there have been team off-days and an All-Star break along the way, so it's not like Gordon has played every calendar day for the past four months. But still, manager Ned Yost thought a Sunday day game against a tough lefty -- Rangers starter Derek Holland -- provided the perfect opportunity to rest Gordon and fellow left-handed hitter Eric Hosmer.
"Alex Gordon hasn't had a day off since the fourth or fifth game of the season. Hosmer hasn't had a day off in a while. It was a chance on a Sunday, when it's normally pretty hot in August, a chance to give Gordon and Hosmer a day off," Yost said.
"It's not really the lefty that bothers me, it's more the everyday grind and short turnaround of a day game and the added heat of playing in the heat of the day, which is much more draining than playing a 7 o'clock game at night. Your body has more time to recover, the temperatures are cooler. Day games are tough on you. So these guys who have been getting after it every single day, it's more of a benefit to pick a day game to give them a day off then just to give them a day off against a lefty."
Gordon wasn't exactly thrilled to be getting an off-day, but said that Yost certainly knows when to make that call.
"Everybody wants to play every day, but the skipper knows when it's best to give you a day off and when it's best for the team to give you a day off," Gordon said. "Whatever he puts up there, we all agree with it."
The Royals are jockeying with former Kansas City residents, the Oakland A's, for the top spot in the American League when it comes to outfield assists. The Royals entered Sunday with 28, while the A's ranked second with 26.
Outfielder Bubba Starling, the Royals' top pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, hit his second home run in as many games for Class A Burlington of the Appalachian League on Saturday. That gave Starling seven long balls on the season, which started on June 19.
A night after Donnie Joseph debuted for Triple-A Omaha, the other half of the return in the Jonathan Broxton trade made his organizational debut. Right-hander J.C. Sulbaran pitched four innings for Double-A Northwest Arkansas, allowing one run on three hits and three walks.
Vinnie Duber is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.