A big homecoming awaits Billy Butler in Kansas City on Friday, when the A's designated hitter makes his return to Kauffman Stadium, this time in the visitors' dugout opposing the club that selected him in the first round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft.
Butler and the A's will engage in a three-game series with the Royals, marking their first matchup since last year's dramatic 12-inning American League Wild Card Game that ended in a 9-8 Kansas City victory, propelling the Royals all the way to the World Series.
Ace Sonny Gray will be on the mound for Oakland for Friday's opener, with right-hander Jeremy Guthrie getting the nod for Kansas City.
Things to know about this game
• Butler brings with him a 10-game hitting streak, having become the first player to begin his Oakland A's career with a hit in each of his first 10 games.
• Gray is 0-2 in two career starts against Kansas City, both last year, despite posting a 1.93 ERA. Guthrie has made 12 career appearances against the A's, including 11 starts, and he is 4-5 with a 4.55 ERA in that span.
• A's veteran Ben Zobrist is expected to return to the starting lineup Friday, after being held out of Wednesday's game in Houston with a bruised right heel.