August 2011

Ned Yost media session: August 20

Before tonight’s 6:10 matchup against the Boston Red Sox, Ned Yost explained the reasoning behind starting infielder Chris Getz at second base rather than rookie Johnny Giavotella.  Since being called up on August 5th, Giavotella has started every game for the Royals at second, while Getz has yet to make a start.  He has made just four appearances since Giavotella was promoted, and has just one at-bat. 

“He [Giavotella] has played every day since he’s been here.  Getz has played four innings, two innings here and two innings there as a defensive replacement,” Yost said.  “It’s a chance to get “Getzy” in the game.”

 Yost mentioned that Getz, who has seen his playing time diminish with the addition of Giavotella, has started taking ground balls at shortstop and third base in order to crack his way into the lineup a bit more.  The added versatility may allow Getz to fill in at shortstop or third when the Royals need to give Alcides Escobar or Mike Moustakas a day off.

The Royals will be facing veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield tonight.  Wakefield is one win shy of 200 career victories, which would make him only the 108th pitcher in Major League history and 89th modern Major Leaguer (since 1900) to accomplish the feat.  Wakefield, at 45 years and 18 days old, is the oldest active player in the Majors.  Yost contributes Wakefield’s longevity to his work ethic, as well as his style of pitching.

“He [Wakefield] is a guy that stays in tremendous shape.  He’s got a tremendous work ethic,” Yost said.  “He’s a very smart guy, and a knuckleball doesn’t take a whole lot out of your arm like a guy that throws sliders or breaking balls.”

With the Royals having such a young lineup, and the limited number of knuckleballers in baseball, Yost discussed that most of the Royals players haven’t ever faced a knuckleballer, let alone Wakefield.  He thinks it will be interesting for those who have never faced a knuckleball to get a look at it.  As for batting against a knuckleballer, this was all Yost had to say: “Just hit it.  There’s no real strategy for it.”

Saturday lineup vs. Red Sox

Gordon – LF

Cabrera – CF

Butler – DH

Hosmer – 1B

Francoeur – RF

Moustakas – 3B

Perez – C

Getz – 2B

Escobar – SS

Paulino – RHP

 

Hosmer recognized for A.L. Rookie of the Month honor

During Friday’s pregame, first baseman Eric Hosmer received his A.L. Rookie of the Month award for July.  Manager Ned Yost made the presentation.

Gordon honored with KC’s Heart and Hustle Award

Tonight, the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association honored Alex Gordon as the Royals recipient of the Heart and Hustle Award.  The award recognizes players who best demonstrate a passion for the game.  Royals Hall of Famer Jeff Montgomery presented Gordon with the award.  Congrats to Alex!

Ned Yost media session: Birthday edition

Before opening up tonight’s 7:10 contest vs. the Boston Red Sox, Royals manager Ned Yost was still raving about left fielder Alex Gordon and his outstanding performance both offensively and defensively in last night’s game. Gordon went 2-for-4, recording his team-leading 37th double, a career best, and a two-run homer, his 16th season home run that tied his single-season career best set in 2008. Gordon also notched his 19th outfield assist of the year throwing a bullet to second baseman Johnny Giavotella to retire Boston Red Sox’s Jason Varitek. Yost explained that Gordon’s superb performance is here to stay.

“He [Gordon] has worked really hard to put himself in this position and has always been a diligent worker, a guy that gives his best effort every time he steps on the field,” Yost said.

The Royals skipper commented that he didn’t have the chance to see much of Gordon’s performance last season since he was demoted to Triple-A Omaha to learn the outfield, but Yost says he kept his eye out for Gordon through the minor leagues and after his recall back to Kansas City on July 23, 2010.

“After revamping his [Gordon] swing a little bit during the winter, his bat stays in the zone longer and it allows him to get to more pitches and drive through more balls,” Yost said. “With his work ethic I was really impressed with the way he played left field last year more than anything else, being new at that position and he has just continued that on.”

Onlookers might take Gordon’s calm personality as a lack of emotion during the game but Yost reassured that he admires Gordon’s level-headed character.

“I’m looking for a professional player who comes up and plays the game hard every single day and plays the game to win but still has the confidence and the ability to stay within himself, and to go out and accomplish those things,” Yost said.

Ned Yost is also celebrating his 57th birthday. Yost is in his second season with the Royals after being announced as the 16th full-time manager on May 13, 2010. The Kansas City Royals and Around the Horn would like to wish a very special “Happy Birthday” to Ned!

Friday lineup vs. Red Sox

Tonight’s game starts at 7:10.  Come on out to The K for Hy-Vee/Pepsi Fireworks Friday!

Gordon – LF

Cabrera – CF

Butler – DH

Hosmer – 1B

Francoeur – RF

Giavotella – 2B

Pena – C

Moustakas – 3B

Escobar – SS

Francis – LHP

Jeff Francoeur: Enjoying KC

Jeff Francoeur met with reporters today after signing a two-year contract extension through 2013.

Francoeur noted the great communication between his agent and the Royals for getting the deal done.  Conversations began before the July 31 trade deadline and heated up during KC’s recent trip to play the Rays in St. Petersburg.  While the recent draft signing deadline slowed things a bit, the deal was done Tuesday with Francoeur taking a physical on Wednesday.

“Frenchy” has had a nice resurgence in 2011.  To date, he has 15 home runs and 64 RBI in his 118 games.  He’s also added to his game with a career-high 19 stolen bases (he entered the season with 23).  Currently, he is one of just ten players in baseball with 15+ homers and 19+ steals.  Frenchy credits hitting coach Kevin Seitzer for the improvement on offense and first base coach Doug Sisson for instruction on baserunning and defense.

Francoeur enjoys the lifestyle in Kansas City, which reminds him of his native Atlanta.  He mentioned the ease of his 20-minute commute to Kauffman Stadium and is glad to call KC his baseball home.

While he could have tested the free agent waters, the 27-year-old is pleased to be the “veteran” of a core group of young players.  He believes that the Royals are very close to turning a corner, and he wants to be a part of it when it happens.

Ned Yost media session: August 18

Prior to tonight’s series opener against the Boston Red Sox, Kansas Cityskipper Ned Yost talked about the recent contract extension of Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur.  Yost is excited about the contract extension and what that means for Kansas City.

“He [Francoeur] has done a great job of coming in here and proving that he can still be a productive, everyday player,” Yost said.  “He fits a lot of bills for us.  He’s a consistent producer offensively, and he’s a Gold Glove-caliber type defender in right.”

Yost knows that keeping Francoeur around for a couple more years is not only good for the Royals on the field, but off the field as well.  He praised Francoeur’s leadership and presence in the clubhouse, noting that with all of the young players coming up to the Royals Major League roster, it’s important to show the less experienced players the right way to play the game.

“His clubhouse presence and leadership are very high,” Yost said.  “He’s as good as a clubhouse leader as I’ve ever seen.”

Yost also discussed the Royals young reliever, right-hander Louis Coleman.  Coleman pitched one scoreless inning in last night’s 5-4 victory over the New York Yankees, giving him 6 and 1/3 scoreless innings in his last three outings.  The Royals manager said Coleman has been effective against right- and left-handed hitters this year, and attributes that to Coleman’s deceptive sidearm delivery.

“You’ve got to be able to hide the ball.  It’s got to come out of an area where it’s tough to pick up,” Yost said.  “Some sidearmers I’ve seen were easy to pick up, and some guys were really, really tough to pick up.  Louis is one of those guys that’s tough to pick up.”

Thursday lineup: 7:10 vs. Boston

The Royals host Boston tonight at 7:10.  Come on out to The K!

Here’s the lineup:

Gordon – LF

Cabrera – CF

Butler – DH

Hosmer – 1B

Francoeur – RF

Giavotella – 2B

Perez – C

Moustakas – 3B

Escobar – SS

Hochevar – RHP

Royals sign outfielder Jeff Francoeur to a two-year contract extension through 2013

 The Royals announced today that the club has signed outfielder Jeff Francoeur to a two-year contract extension through 2013.  Consistent with club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

The 27-year-old Francoeur is hitting .277 this season for the Royals, his first with the club.  He has recorded 35 doubles, fifth-most in baseball, with three triples, 15 home runs, 66 RBI, 60 runs and a career-high 19 stolen bases.  In addition, the 2007 Rawlings Gold Glove winner is third in the Majors with 12 outfield assists and leads all of baseball with 93 assists since the 2005 season.

Francoeur initially signed a one-year contract with the Royals on December 15, 2010.  He and his wife, Catie, reside in Duluth, Ga.

 

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