Ned Yost media session: August 1
Manager Ned Yost met with the media inside the dugout prior to batting practice today and the first topic of discussion involved the Royals’ move this morning recalling right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress from Triple-A Omaha. The move got the roster back to 25 players after the trade of Jonathan Broxton on Tuesday. Yost said in outings earlier in the season consistency and command have been an issue for Jeffress. He said he has been progressively gaining better consistency and in one or two inning stints he has been able to command his fastball very well. Yost went on to say there may still be a hiccup or two here and there, but he has been doing much better and they want to give him a look. One media member brought up the question whether or not it would be a possibility to see Jeffress stretched longer than just one or two innings out of the pen since he has had experience with longer relief in the past. Yost responded saying that will most likely not be the case with him here. He said they plan to use him in situations they could do that, but as it stands now the Royals are not bringing him up to be a long guy. He went on to say they have Everett Teaford who has been handling the long relief role very well, but if there was an instance in which Teaford throws a large amount of innings one day then they could probably get through the next just using Louis Coleman and Jeffress out of the pen as a combined long guy. As of right now, however, that is not what they Royals see happening.
Outfielder Lorenzo Cain was the next topic of discussion and, more specifically, where Yost sees him hitting in the batting order long-term in his career. Yost said he is all about trying to win a ballgame therefore it depends on his productivity and his numbers at any given point in a season or situation. However, as far as projecting goes, he said Cain is a middle of the order guy. The Royals have him in the three-spot right now and he has been producing very well and putting up good numbers. Somewhere around that spot in the order is where Yost sees him hitting throughout his career. He can hit for power, he has good speed and can get the job done. Cain’s health was brought up next. He returned to the team July 9 during the All-Star break after spending much of the season on the disabled list and Yost said his legs are getting better each day and he is getting stronger. He said he is running well and has stolen a few bases so he continues to get better in that regard.
The production out of the Royals’ nine-spot in the order was the final topic brought up by the media. The nine-hitters lead the league in batting average (.293), RBI (51) and are second in runs scored (46) through 102 games this season. Yost said it is good production and they have had some very good hitters in that nine-spot all year long. Alcides Escobar who is among the league leaders in batting average and has a total of 36 RBI on the season spent a long time in that slot before moving to the two-hole. He said they have been in pretty good shape out of that spot all season long including yesterday when Jarrod Dyson went 3-for-4 with a double and a triple. Yost said they really like having Dyson in the nine-spot because it is like having two leadoff hitters in a row after he turns the lineup back around to Alex Gordon at the top. He said Dyson can get on base, steal bases and then they have the top of the order coming right back up.