Yost happy with progress of young Royals

Ned Yost is asking long-suffering Kansas City Royals fans to

wait a little longer.

In spite of their league-worst 36-52 record going into Friday

night’s game against Detroit, the manager feels certain better days

are ahead.

”You look at our club and look where we are in terms of our

defense as a whole, our base running as a whole, our bullpen, our

starting pitching and our base running, and we’ve made a lot of

progress,” said Yost, who’s halfway through his first full season

as KC manager. ”We just have to find ways to get over that hump,

and experience will help that a lot.”

Yost points to the development of young position players such as

first baseman Eric Hosmer, shortstop Alcides Escobar and third

baseman Mike Moustakas as sure signs that Kansas City’s slow,

painstaking program of building from the bottom up is bearing

fruit.

Also encouraging is rookie left-hander Danny Duffy, who went six

strong innings in a 3-1 loss to the Tigers on Thursday night in his

10th major league start.

Hosmer, who was tearing up Triple-A pitching before he was

called up this year from Triple-A, is hitting .319 in Kauffman

Stadium and hit .333 on the team’s most recent road trip.

Moustakas, called up on June 10, drove in the Royals’ lone run

on Thursday night with an infield out but also failed in two key

situations with runners in scoring positions. Each time, he was

facing a pitcher he’d never seen before.

”A base hit there and we win the ballgame,” Yost said. ”But

there’s going to come a time when we’re going to pick those base

hits up and we’re going to win those ballgames, those close games.

We’ve played a lot of one-run and two-run games. We’re close.

Things happen fast, especially when you get close. Hopefully, we

will turn the corner little bit in the second half and start making

some forward progress in the win-loss record. But where we are as a

team today, we’re better than we were last year in my opinion and

continuing to get better each week.”

Yost was in Milwaukee and Atlanta when those organizations made

similar transitions and became competitive. He’s seen what happens

when victory-starved organizations start to lose patience.

”You can’t allow passion to overcome your patience. That’s the

biggest mistake you’re going to make in this type of deal. When you

start to get frustrated and start to make moves out of desperation

because you’re not winning games right now, it’s a mistake. I told

our coaches at the beginning of the year this is going to be the

toughest year for us because we’re going to show signs and there

will be times when we struggle and it’s going to be frustrating

because we’re going to really start to take strides forward.”

The Royals have not made the postseason since winning the World

Series in 1985 and the prospect of another 90-loss season has upset

many fans.

”But we can’t lose sight of what the big picture is and what

we’re going to accomplish because when we get to the point where we

can compete we’re going to compete for an extended time, not one

season. I’m talking four, five seasons in a row. But we have to get

to that point and you don’t want to do anything to jeopardize the

future by doing something crazy right now.”