Ned Yost media session: September 13
Before opening up a two-game series with tonight’s 7:10 contest vs. the Minnesota Twins, Royals manager Ned Yost expressed his satisfaction with the squad’s seven-game road trip facing the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners where the Royals went 4-3 overall.
“Pitching was really good with Paulino [Felipe Paulino] and Teaford [Everett Teaford], defense was spectacular,” Yost said. “All-in-all it was a decent road trip.”
The Royals next eight games against the Twins, Chicago White Sox, and Detroit Tigers will be played at Kauffman for their final homestand of the season. Yost commented saying that he wants his squad to focus on winning as many games as possible and keeping their positive mentality they have had all season long. The Royals skipper also praised his team for their drive and motivation for next year’s 2012 season.
“When we come to Spring Training next year this group of guys are going to be ‘been there, done that’ and they’re going to come in as veterans and understand what Major League Baseball is all about,” Yost said. “They’re going to be more prepared to compete, they’re going to know the league better, and they’re going to know the opposition better.”
Yost, when asked about the club’s huge improvement from last season in run differential, pointed out that the squad’s baserunning has improved tremendously during the 2011 season by creating and taking advantage of several run scoring opportunities. Along with baserunning, the Royals defense has been phenomenal. The outfield defense alone has collected 50 assists so far, the second-most in a season in club history trailing the 1969 squad who posted 53. The Royals are currently fourth in the American League Central, just one slot ahead of tonight’s opponent the Minnesota Twins. Yost commented on the standings saying that it’s best to always strive towards first.
“It’s important to set your sights and your goals on first place, not fifth place, not fourth place,” Yost said. “But in a sense it’s still important because you’re showing that you’re making improvement.”
Today it was announced that five-year veteran and designated hitter Billy Butler is the 2011 Royals nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award by Chevrolet. Yost gives credit toButler as an outstanding player and recognizes his hard work moving from a full-time defensive player to the designated hitter position. Along withButler’s hard work on the field,Butler has been recognized with the award for his hard work off the field as well by participating in several community outreach programs.