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Ned Yost is taking spring training very seriously

Mar 8, 2013, 11:51 AM EDT

Ned Yost and his flexible thumb Getty Images

Pete Grathoff’s article in the Kansas City Star is mostly about how the Royals are giving infielders Chris Getz and Johnny Giavotella some reps in the outfield to increase their versatility, but buried within that is this little tidbit and quote from manager Ned Yost:

This was going to happen earlier, but the Royals were just playing too well. …

“It’s not an experiment, but we want guys to be versatile, and those guys, we think, can handle it,” Yost said before Thursday’s 12-2 loss to the Mariners. “I was waiting until we lost a game before I started experimenting a little bit, but what the hell, we’d better just go ahead and start doing it.”

He means a spring training game, just to be clear. As in, Yost didn’t want to start giving players action at new positions while the team was on a spring training winning streak in early March. Kansas City is an MLB-best 11-1 this spring, but based on how seriously they’re apparently taking Cactus League wins and losses Royals fans might be getting set up for disappointment once the games actually count.

If you’re curious, last year’s best spring training record belonged to the Blue Jays at 24-7 and they went 73-89 in the regular season. And two years ago the Royals–with Yost as their manager–had the best spring training winning percentage and they went 71-91.

Might as well do whatever you want in spring training games, because the wins and losses don’t really matter.

  1. danaking - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    As Earl Weaver said in Weaver on Strategy: No one gives a damn in July that you lost a game in March.

  2. mattintoledo - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    The Royals must not have had any starters who were perfect in these 3 IP warmups. Probably a good thing. Yost would’ve been pacing in the dugout, sweating telling a guy with a perfect game he might take him out. “I can’t take him out. Can I? I mean, perfect is perfect, right?”

  3. js20011041 - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    Ned “I Am Sam” Yost just went full retard. How is the idea that wins and losses in spring training don’t mean anything not a given at this point? It’s mind boggling.

  4. uwsptke - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    The 2008 Detroit Lions were 4-0 in preseason play before going 0-16 in the regular season. What is Ned rambling about?

    • yahmule - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:35 PM

      Wayne Fontes’ Lions teams took a much more laid back approach to training camp. So laid back, in fact, they generally had to spend the first month of the regular season playing themselves into shape. Fans and media would begin asking why a team with Barry Sanders, Herman Moore, Chris Spielman and Jerry Ball were struggling and demand Fontes be fired. The Lions would then finish strong and get everybody optimistic for the following season. The players loved Fontes so he got away with this for, like, nine seasons.

  5. yahmule - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    This is the same guy who was wringing his hands a few years back about how he would explain to Braun and Fielder that they were switching places in the batting order. Edgar Frederick “Ned” Yost III begins the 2013 season an even 100 games under .500 on his career.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/managers/yostne01.shtml

  6. packer42390 - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    Yost also said that spring training games don’t mean anything in a local radio interview, he probably feels how most fans do. We all know these games don’t mean anything but it is still good to see them stacking wins so why mess with it?

  7. sportsdrenched - Mar 8, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    I’m more worried that the front office is so enamored with Chris Getz that they just have to find a way to get him in the line-up. Versatility, the new market inefficiency.

  8. cogitobaseballergosum - Mar 8, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    Billy Martin would be proud. This reminds me of the time he wanted Goose Gossage to bean Billy Sample in a Spring Training game.

    George Steinbrenner would love Yost’s attitude. He hated to lose Spring Training games almost as much as World Series games. No wonder he and Martin got along so well.

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