July 2010

Royals give Ned Yost 2-year extension as manager

The Royals extended the contract of manager Ned Yost for two years on Saturday.

Yost took over the Royals from Trey Hillman, who was dismissed, on May 14. Since then the club has posted a 31-37 mark.

The 55-year-old Yost managed the Milwaukee Brewers  from 2003 until late in the 2008 season, compiling a 457-502 record. He was hired by the Royals last winter as a special advisor of baseball operations.

The announcement came just after the Royals made a deal at the trade deadline, sending outfielder Rick Ankiel and reliever Kyle Farnsworth and cash to the Braves for three players.

–Dick Kaegel

Ankiel, Farnsworth dealt to Braves for 3 players

The Royals beat the trade deadline by minutes on Saturday, dealing center fielder Rick Ankiel and relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth and cash to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for three players.

The Royals received outfielder Gregor Blanco and right-handed pitcher Jesse Chavez, who will report to the Royals immediately, and left-handed pitcher Tim Collins, who’ll join Triple-A Omaha.

Blanco, 26, a left-handed batter, was hitting .310 (18-for-58) in 36 games for the Braves. He also batted .286 for Triple-A Gwinnett in 44 games.

Chavez, 24, was 3-2 with a 5.89 ERA in 28 relief appearances for the Braves. In three seasons for Atlanta, he was 4-7 in 116 games.

Collins, 20, had a 1-0 record and a 2.29 ERA for two Double-A clubs, New Hampshire in the Toronto organization and Mississippi in the Atlanta organization.

Ankiel had just returned to the Royals after a lengthy rehab assignment because of a quad injury with Omaha. Since his return, he was hitting .367 (11-for-30) with a home run and six RBIs in eight games.

Farnsworth was having one of his best seasons with a 3-0 record and 2.42 ERA in 37 relief outings.

–Dick Kaegel

Podsednik traded to Dodgers for two Minor Leaguers

The Kansas City Royals traded left fielder Scott Podsednik to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night in exchange for two Minor League players.

The Royals received catcher Lucas May and right-handed pitcher Elisaul Pimentel. May was assigned to Triple-A Omaha and Pimentel to Single-A Burlington.

Podsednik, hitting .310 in his first season for the Royals, had just extended his career-high hitting streak to 15 games in the Royals’ 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday afternoon.

May, 25, was hitting .296 with 11 home runs and 45 RBIs in 73 games for Triple-A Albuquerque. In eight Minor League seasons, the right-handed hitter has career average of .260 with 87 homers.

He played for Royals coach Eddie Rodriguez last fall as Team USA won the 2009 IBAF World Cup.

Pimentel, 22, was 9-3 with a 3.49 ERA in 17 games, including 16 starts, for Great Lakes in the Single-A Midwest League. He had 97 strikeouts in 90 1/3 innings.

Podsednik was signed by the Royals last winter as a free agent.

–Dick Kaegel

 

Meche headed for surgery, out for the season

Royals pitcher Gil Meche likely will undergo surgery on his right shoulder and miss the rest of the season, manager Ned Yost said on Tuesday.

The exact nature and date of the surgery were not known.

Meche threw for Triple-A Omaha in an injury rehabilitation appearance on Monday and gave up seven runs in four innings.

“It didn’t go real well. He’s still experiencing some pain in his shoulder and so our next move is that he’ll probably go and have some surgery on it to figure out exactly what’s wrong and repair it,” Yost said.

“That’s probably going to be the next step. We’re still evaluating but it looks like that’s probably what we’re going to have to do.”

Meche has been on the disabled list with what was originally listed as right shoulder bursitis since last pitching for the Royals on May 25.

“When he gets in and is evaluating fully by the doctor, I imagine it’ll be some type of cleanup in there with the scope,” Yost said. “He still has irritation and it’s not getting better so we’re looking at probably scoping it and getting it cleaned up and having him ready for next year.”

Meche came out of a Cactus League game in Arizona on March 22 after three innings with shoulder tightness. He worked his way back and his first start of the season was delayed until April 9.

This would be the second straight year that Meche’s season has ended early. In 2009, back problems kept him from starting after Aug. 29. An iron man in his first two seasons with the Royals, he was limited to 23 starts and had a 6-10 record and 5.09 ERA.

“He’s a little down right now,” Yost said. “He worked really hard to do everything he could do to get back without having this happen but common sense says you can fight this and fight it and fight it but you get to the point where you have surgery later and that jeopardizes what we need him for next year. So go ahead and get it done as soon as we can and hopefully have him ready to go next year.”

Meche made just nine starts this season and was 0-4 with a 6.66 ERA.

“He came and pitched effectively at times during the season. This is almost kind of like a last resort thing. We exhausted every other option that we could do so that we wouldn’t have to come to this. But this is what it’s come to and we have to move forward with it,” Yost said.

“It’s always a blow when you lose a guy that has the capability to win games like Gil does but you fix it and you move on.”

Meche next season will be in the last year of his original free agent five-year, $55-million contract with the Royals.

On the upside, disabled starter Luke Hochevar (right elbow sprain) had a good throwing session on Monday. He’s been out since June 12 and, at the moment, there’s no target date for him to return to throwing off the mound.

“But it’ll be very soon,” Yost said.

–Dick Kaegel

Davies shows his good stuff in a ‘nice game’

Kyle Davies’ contribution to the Royals’ 10-inning, 5-4 victory over the Blue Jays on Monday night might get lost in the ecstasy over the overtime win.

But, as manager Ned Yost noted, Davies limited the damage very well in his seven innings. He pitched out of jams and helped himself with no walks, an indication that this command-challenged pitcher is getting a strong hand on his fastball.

“That’s the big thing. You gotta make them put the ball in play,” Davies said. “You look at all the hits, I think there was one home run and how many singles? (Eight.) . . . For the most part I made them have to put good swings on the ball and they couldn’t drive it.”

Davies had no decision and remained winless in his last eight starts. But he’s been very impressive to Yost, especially in his last four outings.

“He just pitched a nice game tonight,” Yost said.

Davies has gone seven, 7 2/3, six and seven innings in his last four games.

“That’s what I have to pitch at. I have to pound the strike zone and get some quick outs. I know they got 10 hits, but for the most part they were pretty soft singles,” he said. “As a pitcher, you just want to keep [your team] in the ball game and you can’t do that by walking them and running up your pitch count.”

Davies made 93 pitches including 57 strikes. That’s one of his best percentages this season.

–Dick Kaegel

Bloomquist a National League guy doing well in AL

Royals manager Ned Yost saw the ultimate example of Willie Bloomquist’s usefulness in the space of two innings in Friday night’s 10-inning, 2-1 win at Anaheim. Bloomquist, as a pinch-runner, stole a base and scored the tying run in the ninth inning. Then he belted a RBI single for the winning run in the 10th.

“He’s a National League player – that’s a National League style. A National League player can have a major impact on a game. You can sit there for nine innings and jump right into the fray and make a difference,” Yost said.

“It’s a little more difficult to do that in the American League. But what Willie brings is a comfort that I can do anything I need to do.”

The stolen base was impressively made while the third batter, Mike Aviles, was up and he did it successfully because he bided his time and picked just the right spot.

“He was making sure he gave himself the best opportunity to be successful instead of just blindly running,” Yost said.

Next pitch Aviles ripped a double and Bloomquist scored from second.

Bloomquist finished the game at first base and made a sharp fielding play and throw to second base for a force-out in the ninth. That’s another part of Bloomquist’s value.

“You can play him absolutely anywhere in the field with the exception of behind the plate and I’m not so sure that he couldn’t handle that,” Yost said.

Bloomquist was on deck in the 10th and had not yet batted in the game so the Angels walked David DeJesus intentionally to get to him.

“I was not the least bit upset when they walked David DeJesus yesterday because I just knew that Willie was one of the guys, just like (Wilson) Betemit, who’s out hitting early, he’s prepared to get in that game and be successful. And that’s what you want your bench people to do.”

Bloomquist ripped a RBI single and, after a slow start this season, that made him 14-for-38, .368, since May 22.

–Dick Kaegel