NEW YORK -- While the Royals managed just six hits as a team in Wednesday night's 8-1 loss to the Yankees, two of them came off the bat of Eric Hosmer, marking his eighth multihit performance in his past 12 games.
The Royals first baseman has been on a tear of late, hitting .444 (20-for-45) with five home runs and 11 RBIs during the 12-game stretch.
Hosmer has seen a gradual improvement at the plate each month this season after hitting .250 and failing to record a home run in April. He followed with a .269 average and one homer in May, posted a .303 mark with six long balls in June and is hitting .378 with a pair of homers in July, entering play Thursday.
"I'm not really doing anything different right now," Hosmer said of the recent surge. "I'm just trying to stay consistent with the work I'm doing. [Hitting coaches George Brett and Pedro Grifol] and I have all created a routine that we've been getting after now for about three, four weeks. I just want to stay consistent with that work and try to stay aggressive at the plate."
At the other corner-infield position, third baseman Mike Moustakas has started to pick up the pace, as well. Despite his 0-for-4 performance on Wednesday night, Moustakas is still hitting .303 over his past 19 games, raising his season average 30 points during that span from .183 to .213 entering play on Thursday.
"It's immensely important," manager Ned Yost said on what it means to have both Hosmer and Moustakas coming around offensively. "Coming into this season, we knew that, in order for us to be competitive, we were going to have to produce at our corner positions -- first, third, left and right. Right now, we're starting to do that."
Albeit a small sample size, the Royals have gone 7-5 while averaging 5.1 runs per game during Hosmer's recent 12-game burst. In the 76 games prior, Kansas City had averaged just 3.9 runs per contest.
"Our offensive production has picked up here, largely because of those two guys," Yost said. "They're an important component and the key to our offense. We know that we have offense at short in [Alcides] Escobar and behind the plate with [Salvador] Perez, and we're covered in center field with [Jarrod] Dyson and [Lorenzo] Cain.
"But the mainstay of our offense, I think, has to be those four corner positions, and it starts with those two."
Davis placed on paternity leave; Joseph debuts
NEW YORK -- Right-hander Wade Davis was placed on paternity leave on Thursday, one day after allowing a career-high-tying eight runs in Wednesday's loss. The club recalled left-handed prospect Donnie Joseph from Triple-A Omaha to take Davis' spot on the roster.
Davis, who wasn't scheduled to pitch again until after the All-Star break, can only remain on the paternity list for up to three days. Therefore, the Royals will need to make another roster move on Sunday.
As for Joseph, the Royals' No. 7-ranked prospect according to MLB.com, he joined the Royals after going 3-3 with three saves and a 3.55 ERA in 31 relief appearances for Omaha. In 10 Spring Training appearances with the Royals this season, he compiled a 1.80 ERA with 14 strikeouts and three walks over 10 innings.
"My impressions were favorable," manager Ned Yost said of Joseph's spring work. "I thought he threw the ball well, and the reports are he's throwing the ball well [in Omaha]."
Drafted by the Reds in the third round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft and traded to the Royals in the Jonathan Broxton deal last summer, this is Joseph's first stint with a Major League club. He was notified early Wednesday afternoon of the looming promotion and arrived in New York at approximately midnight.
Joseph wasted no time in making his Major League debut, facing three hitters in the seventh inning of Thursday's 8-4 loss to the Yankees. Facing his first career big league hitter, Joseph forced Vernon Wells to line out before walking Lyle Overbay and conceding a base hit to Zoilo Almonte.
"It was exciting. It's a dream come true," Joseph said. "At this point, I'm just glad that it's kind of over with, and I can be focused on going out and pitching and not worry about making a debut or when I'm going to pitch."
For the time being, Yost plans to use Joseph as another option out of the bullpen against left-handed hitters to potentially ease the load on fellow southpaw reliever Tim Collins.
"We're looking for a guy that can come in and get lefties out to help Timmy Collins here for the next four days," Yost said. "So we'll see how it goes."
KC's bullpen depth continues to be strength
NEW YORK -- Called up earlier this week to provide relief to a taxed Royals bullpen, Louis Coleman on Wednesday night did exactly what manager Ned Yost has come to expect from the righty.
Making his fifth appearance for the Royals this season -- and first since May 30 -- Coleman fired a perfect eighth inning, striking out the side in order, in the 8-1 loss to the Yankees. He needed just 14 pitches, 11 for strikes, to complete the frame. Coleman has yet to allow a run in his five big league outings this season, totaling 5 1/3 innings.
"He's throwing strikes with good stuff," Yost said. "It's that simple."
Prior to Coleman taking the mound, fellow reliever J.C. Gutierrez had already pitched two scoreless innings of his own after starter Wade Davis exited in the sixth inning with the Royals trailing, 8-0. The six combined scoreless innings of relief on Wednesday and Thursday lowered Kansas City's bullpen ERA to an American League-best 2.87.
"We've always felt the bullpen was a strength of this club," Yost said. "And I've always had a lot of confidence in the depth of it, too."