Ned Yost media session: September 19
The health and current status of Royals pitcher Luis Mendoza was the first question directed to manager Ned Yost when he met with the media this afternoon prior to batting practice. Mendoza was diagnosed with strep throat yesterday which has forced him to miss his start in the rotation which was scheduled for tonight. The change has also bumped everyone up one spot in the rotation. Bruce Chen is tonight’s starter with Mendoza’s absence, then Jeremy Guthrie Thursday and hopefully Mendoza will be able to get back into the rotation after that on Friday vs. Cleveland. Yost said Mendoza came out to the park earlier today, played some catch and also through a short bullpen session. He went on to say he may be able to start as soon as Friday in the series-opener against Cleveland, but they will wait and see how he is feeling tomorrow and again on Friday. If Mendoza does return for Friday’s game, then it will most likely be Will Smith getting the start Saturday and rookie Jake Odorizzi making his big league debut on Sunday to finish out the homestand. It is just a matter of Mendoza recovering and regaining his strength. Yost finished by saying he was feeling better and looked much better when he came in earlier today, so that is a good sign.
Billy Butler’s milestone season was the last topic with Yost and members of the media this afternoon. Butler surpassed his career high in single-season home runs a while ago and tallied his 96th and 97th RBI of the season last night, also a new single-season career high. The question was asked if it is that Billy is starting to come of age as a player or what explains his career numbers soaring this season. Yost said someone like Billy is expected to get better and better each year and you expect his numbers to keep increasing each year so, yes, saying he is “coming of age” can be an accurate statement when referring to the numbers Billy has put up this season. Yost finished by saying having Billy’s type of bat and hitting in the middle of lineup is very valuable to the future success of the club.