Yost upbeat about his health, state of his club
With 60 players in camp, Royals to hold first full-squad workout Thursday
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A year ago Wednesday, Royals manager Ned Yost was in a hospital getting his gall bladder removed. The next day he was at the training complex back at work, albeit with an ice pack on his abdomen.
"Yeah, it didn't matter," he said Wednesday.
So how's he feeling this year?
"How am I feelin'? Mostly with my fingers," he said, drumming his desk.
So this year, he's crackin' wise and feeling very good, about his team as well as himself.
The Royals will have their first full-squad workout Thursday. On Wednesday's official reporting day, the last of the infielders and outfielders checked in. They were shortstop Alcides Escobar and newly acquired outfielder-infielder Jimmy Paredes.
That gives the Royals a full complement of 60 players -- 30 pitchers, six catchers, 12 infielders and 12 outfielders. Forty are on the Major League roster, the other 20 are invited non-roster players.
Thursday's schedule will include a pre-workout meeting where Yost will introduce various staff members for the benefit of the newcomers and then they'll go to work. There'll be five full days of practice, followed by intrasquad games on Feb. 25-26 and the first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Feb. 27.
The infielders and outfielders had their last unofficial batting practice Wednesday.
"What you see out here is really the tip of the iceberg," Yost said. "They're starting in the cages at 6:30 in the morning, working at individual drills. They're just trying to put good swings on the ball out here. We want guys hitting the ball out of the ballpark. We want guys to have that feel and it happens a lot in batting practice -- it always has."
Justin Maxwell powered the day's last long drive, a monster sock to left field.
"Maxie does that every day," Yost said. "[Norichika] Aoki looks great, Esky looked good today, but again it's only BP. Once the games start and the seasons starts, that's what's most important, but you can see the confidence that they have, the freeness in their swings and I guess you could say it's a little exciting to sit back and watch these guys swing the bat the way they do, because you can foresee how it's going to transition into the game."
One of the Royals' disappointments last year was the inability to score more runs over 2012.
"We're better equipped to score more this year and that makes it more exciting," Yost said.
Royals ponder changes to replay system
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Instant replay is being expanded this year to include a variety of plays, and manager Ned Yost, general manager Dayton Moore and the Royals' staff are pondering how it might work out.
"It's still kind of a great unknown. It started that they were going to put a [monitor] in close proximity of the dugout, so it was my thought you can have a bench coach go and check the replay and come back out while you're out on the field," Yost said. "Now the thought seems to be that they're going to install all the replay machines in the video room. So we've had extensive conversations -- Dayton and I and our baseball [operations] people -- on how we're going to do that and who's going to do that."
So when Yost goes out to argue an umpire's call, a staff member presumably would check out the replay in the video room or somewhere and signal the manager on whether or not he should use his one challenge. (If the skipper is right, he retains the right to challenge a call again. Beginning with the seventh inning, the umpires can decide on reviewing plays.)
This certainly changes the dynamics of baseball arguments.
"I'm a competitive guy, but when I go out to argue a call, I can't win. There's no way. I've never won one, will never win one," Yost said, alluding to the old system. "You can't win. At least now I've got a fighting chance. So I welcome it."
Do you use your challenge on a bang-bang play or only on one that you're sure to win?
"Every time I run out on a bang-bang play, when I'm sure that [the umpire] missed it, I always get back and look at the replay and he didn't," Yost said. "It's a real tough angle from the dugout to see that bang-bang play."
Therefore, Yost's conclusion is this: "It's going to be more [on] the obvious plays."
Those obvious plays, however, won't include the "neighborhood" forceouts at second base where sometimes the shortstop or second baseman is just in the "neighborhood" of second base on a force play with a runner bearing down on him. The thinking there is it's better to avoid injuries than be too picky about stepping on the bag.
"They're not going to be able to review that 'neighborhood' play as we go right now. They say right now that's not going to be reviewable," Yost said.
Whether or not there'll much experimentation with the new rules during Spring Training remains to be seen because telecasts are relatively infrequent. So the real shakedown will come once the regular season begins.
"It's new ground and we're going to have to experience it and see how it works out, but I think in the long run it's going to be good for us," Yost said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.