Ned Yost media session: July 10, 2014
Royals left-hander Jason Vargas underwent a successful appendectomy on Wednesday night and has since been placed on the 15-day disabled list. In his stead, Kansas City has opted for 28-year-old righty Louis Coleman, calling the reliever up from Triple-A Omaha on Thursday.
“Art Stewart saw Louie throw his last four outings and said he’s back to where he was last year,” said manager Ned Yost. “I trust Art’s evaluations.”
Vargas is not the only Royal casualty of late. Nori Aoki continues to rehab on the disabled list, and he’s since been joined on the mend by All-Star left fielder Alex Gordon, who remains active but is not expected to play in the upcoming series vs. Detroit.
“It happens,” Yost said of the recent ailments affecting his squad. “Everybody goes through it. Everybody deals with it. You’ve just got to get through it. Certain guys who may get an opportunity to play a little more will step up and you get through it. It’s something that you deal with every year.”
First baseman Eric Hosmer went 14-for-35 (.400) with three doubles, a home run, and four RBI on the road trip, hitting safely in all nine games. Yost said the key to Hosmer’s improved performance has been a renewed sense of timing in the batter’s box.
“[The] timing in his swing is better,” said Yost. “He’s seeing the ball better. He’s getting himself in a better position to hit. He’s getting his foot down and his hands are in a good striking position, which allows you to see the ball better. When your timing is off, you rush your swing. So, when your timing is off, you’re late. To compensate for it, you’ve got to get early. When you get early, all of a sudden you’re not seeing the ball as well. Then you’re swinging at pitches outside of the strike zone. When your timing is set, now all of a sudden you see the ball better, you read the ball better, you have better swings because you have a better eye.”
All-Star starter Salvador Perez punctuated the Royals’ road trip emphatically with a three-run shot in the ninth inning that lifted Kansas City past Tampa Bay 5-4 on Wednesday. Yost said on Thursday, however, that the emotional victory would not carry over beyond the start of tonight’s game.
“It carries over until Smyly throws his first pitch,” said Yost. “What something like that does, last night, is make your flight home real enjoyable. But when you wake up today, you’re facing another very tough Major League club. They don’t care that Salvy hit a home run last night. You’ve got to come out and play every day with the same attitude, the same intensity, the same focus.”
Yost welcomes another shot at the division-leading Tigers to close out the first half of the season, if only because each series versus Detroit gives the club another opportunity to close the gap.
“It’s good to play them anytime, especially when you’re chasing them and you’re trying to pick up ground,” said Yost. “Last time we played them, we were really hot and we were swinging the bats well. We’ve kind of cooled off a little bit here lately. But we’re still finding ways, like last night, to win baseball games. The key is the offense. When we hit, we win.”
By Kolby Paxton