Ned Yost media session: September 17
The Royals head into their 1:10 matchup with Chicago looking to complete a four-game sweep of the visiting White Sox. The Royals have won seven in a row for the first time since September 13-18, 2008. A win today will give them their first eight-game winning streak since opening the 2003 season with a 9-0 record. Taking the hill for Kansas City will be veteran left-hander Bruce Chen, who is coming off his best start of the season Tuesday against Minnesota. Bruce threw eight shutout innings in the Royals 4-0 victory, limiting the Twins to just two hits and a walk.
The talk in Royals manager Ned Yost’s media session, however, was all about the newest Royal, right-hander Luis Mendoza. Mendoza, the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year, was called up earlier this morning to make his 2011 debut on Tuesday night against Detroit, the American League Central Division champions.
Mendoza was 12-5 with a league-leading 2.18 ERA during the Pacific Coast League regular season. He was also named the MVP of the postseason after helping Omaha win the Pacific Coast League Championship. Tuesday will be his fifth appearance as a Royal and his first start for Kansas City.
Yost liked what he saw of Mendoza in spring training, even though Mendoza didn’t make the Major League roster to start the season. Yost mentioned that Mendoza not making the Opening Day roster had more to do with the other Royals pitchers than it did with Mendoza.
“I’d have taken him [Mendoza] on the club, he threw that well. But we had other guys that were throwing the ball really well, too. He made some adjustments last year in Triple-A [Omaha], so when he came to spring training this year, he threw the ball very, very well,” Yost said.
“He had a nice, downhill action on his fastball and nice breaking stuff. He actually had a very, very good spring. He just kind of got caught up in the numbers. We’re excited that he went to Triple-A [Omaha] and had a great year. We’re excited to see him here for his last two games.”
Yost mentioned that having situations like Mendoza’s, having too many quality players for a limited number of spots, is a necessity for a ball club to be able to compete. Those players provide much-needed depth in the minor leagues in case of an injury.
“You’ve got to have that depth. We were very lucky that we didn’t have an outfielder go down this year. We didn’t have injuries,” Yost said.
“When you get to a point where you can compete, if somebody gets hurt, you better have another quality player that you can plug in there so you don’t miss a beat. Depth is very, very important. And it’s most important in your pitching department.”