Ned Yost media session: May 1, 2014

Royals starter Bruce Chen was originally scheduled to throw a side session on Thursday in preparation for a start on Saturday.  However, he will likely head to the disabled list after discomfort in his back and leg persisted.

“We can back date it five days,” said manager Ned Yost. “I just talked to Nick (Kenney) about it and he thinks it will progress quickly. Shouldn’t be too much past the 15 days. It’s just letting the inflammation calm down. Could be another couple of days, we don’t know. But the plan was, if he couldn’t make his start on Saturday then we’ve got to go with another pitcher.”

Who, specifically, will take Chen’s place in the rotation on Saturday remains unclear.

“Once we get through Friday, we’ll have a better idea, formulating a game plan depending on who’s available,” said Yost.

Reliever Tim Collins made the start for Triple-A Omaha this afternoon as part of his ongoing rehabilitation assignment, with his manager watching closely by Internet.

“He threw two innings today,” said Yost. “I watched him on the Internet. He struck out five, hit a batter, walked a batter, still a little erratic with his command, but five strikeouts is five strikeouts.”

Nori Aoki will get the night off with Justin Maxwell replacing him in right field. Yost said the decision to sit Aoki was made with defense in mind.

“This was a decision that, for the first time this year, we had to make a decision, ‘Do we want to go with offense or do we want to go with defense?’” he said. “Toronto is primarily a fly ball hitting club. Jeremy is primarily a fly ball pitcher, so we opted for the defense in centerfield with (Jarrod) Dyson. Nori is a really good matchup against Buehrle (2-for-3), but we felt best if we just go ahead and put our best defensive club out there.”

The Kansas City bullpen allowed two earned runs over the final four innings of last night’s game, with Aaron Crow, Wade Davis, and Kelvin Herrera combining to strike out seven while allowing no runs through three innings of work. Davis, however, issued a pair of walks to ultimately load the bases in the eighth, while Herrera walked one, and Danny Duffy hit a batter and walked another, leaving many concerned about the lack of control – Just don’t count Yost among them.

“Look at the conditions,” he said. “The ball is extremely tough to command and extremely tough to grip right now. When you throw a baseball in this weather, it’s hard to describe, but it feels almost like an ice cube. It’s very slippery, it’s very slick, and it’s very hard to get a normal grip on the ball where you can feel the ball in your fingertips. We’ve had three days that were tough weather days, not only for hitters, but as much or more for pitchers.”

Yost also weighed in on the issue of pitchers using pine tar, in lieu of New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda’s suspension for applying the substance to his neck during a game vs. Boston.

“I think there’s a lot of pitchers that use pine tar, I really do, but they don’t have it gobbed all over the side of their necks or their hands or whatever,” he said. “It definitely helps. I don’t think it changes the action on the pitch. It’s just to get a better grip. But, you know, I think the league is looking into it.”

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