Yost set tone early as manager


By Greg Echlin
FOXSportsKansasCity.com
August 31, 2010

After Ned Yost took over as a manager in May, the former bullpen coach part of him came out in each of the Kansas City Royals� first two losses under his leadership.� Both messages directed at pitchers.
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The first took place Saturday night, May 15, when Luke Hochevar was pitching with a 4-1 lead entering the seventh inning against the Chicago White Sox.� The Royals lead and a winnable game went up in smoke when the White Sox rallied for four runs.� Rather than using a quick hook at the first sign of trouble that inning when Mark Kotsay and Alexei Ramirez singled with one out, Yost chose to allow Hochevar the opportunity to work himself out of the jam with minimal damage.
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Hochevar ended up walking Mark Teahen next before yielding three more singles.� Ballgame over.� After the game, Yost shared the message he relayed to Hochevar.
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�He (Hochevar) needs to find ways to not let that happen,� said Yost.� �When you�re going into the seventh inning with an 80-pitch pitch count, you should be in control of that game.�
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Hochevar admitted, �I (slipped) that game away.� I need to get it done in that inning.�
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The second involves Yost�s handling of relief pitchers, most recently illustrated over the weekend when he called on Jesse Chavez to pitch in Sunday�s win at Cleveland.� The day after Chavez served up the game-winning homerun to Asdrubal Cabrera.
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The origin of that message can be traced back to a Tuesday night game at Baltimore, May 18, when Zack Greinke left the game with a 3-2 lead after seven.� Blake Wood gave up the game-tying homer, then Yost turned to Kyle Farnsworth who pretty much had been relegated to mop-up duty under Yost�s predecessor, Trey Hillman.� Until Yost took over, Farnsworth had not been used as often with the game on the line since joining the Royals last year.
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But there he was, Farnsworth�the public�s whipping boy of everything that went wrong with the Royals relief corps earlier this season�on the mound with the game on the line in a 3-3 tie after giving up a run in an inning of relief the night before.� The Royals won the game the previous night, but it was more memorable because of what was seen on the bench during the Fox Sports Kansas City telecast�Yost extensively offering Farnsworth words of encouragement.
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Not only did Farnsworth give the Royals a scoreless inning in the May 18 game (Bryan Bullington took the loss), from then on he performed up to the standards the Royals expected as a free agent signee.� As a result Farnsworth became a very marketable relief pitcher before the Atlanta Braves picked him up before the July 31 trading deadline.� �
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�Just because a pitcher gives up a homerun or has a bad outing doesn�t mean he�s a bad pitcher,� said Yost.� �He just had a bad day.� When they come back the next day, in my mind, that�s all forgotten.� Hopefully, in their mind, it�s forgotten, too.�
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That�s not to say the Royals will keep a pitcher around who continually struggles.� After being with tagged with the loss against the Orioles, Bullington came back the next night to pitch two-thirds of an inning at Cleveland.� Then a week later he was sent back to Omaha.� Also, Brad Thompson was designated for assignment June 3 after going 0-4 as a relief pitcher.
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Yost�s experience in handling pitchers can be traced back to his days as a bullpen coach (1991-98) under Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox.
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�I watched the way Bobby (Cox) did it for years over there in Atlanta,� said Yost, who also as a former major league catcher knows something about handling pitchers.� �That�s just what it is.� You know that nobody�s going to be perfect.� What I want our guys to be perfect in is preparation.� Just be ready to be successful on a given day.�