TORONTO — Royals manager Ned Yost shows no outward concern that his contract is nearing an end without, as yet, any meaningful discussions on an extension with general manager Dayton Moore.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
“We haven’t talked about it,” said Yost, who has the club pointed toward its first winning season since 2003. “We haven’t discussed it, Dayton and I. I don’t take the time to think about that.
“I’ve got other things to think about.”
The lack of discussion on an extension isn’t particularly unusual. Moore’s strong preference in his seven-plus years as general manager has been to wait until the off-season to make decisions regarding on-field personnel.
“I’ve tried to be real consistent with that,” Moore said. “Any decisions we make with staff occur once the season is complete. Right now, we’re focused on winning as many games as we can and staying in this race.”
The Royals began play Saturday trailing Detroit by 9½ games in the American League Central Division and trailing Tampa Bay by 6½ games for the AL’s final wild-card berth.
Even so, Moore sure sounds like he wants to keep Yost around.
“I think Ned has done a terrific job,” he said. “I’ve said that publicly. Ned has remained very consistent in his leadership.
“He and the entire coaching staff have done a tremendous job all year in staying consistent and by leading in a way that has put us in a position to win.”
Yost, 59, replaced Trey Hillman as manager on May 13, 2010 with a contract that ran through that end of that season. He agreed to a two-year extension on July 31, 2010 that included a club option for the 2013 season.
The Royals exercised that option on Feb. 14, 2012. Right now, anything more is on hold.
“It’s a distraction,” Yost said, “and I can’t be distracted right now. So I don’t worry about it at all. I don’t even think about it.”
The Royals plan to recall lefty reliever Francisley Bueno and select the contract of catcher Brett Hayes from Class AAA Omaha prior to Sunday’s series finale against Toronto.
Rules permit clubs to expand their rosters on Sept. 1 — Sunday — from 25 to a maximum of 40 players. The Royals will summon more players over the next few days.
Hayes, 29, was three for 11 in three games earlier this year when a concussion forced Salvy Perez to the seven-day disabled list. Hayes batted .233 in 78 games at Omaha but had 17 homers and 44 RBIs.
Bueno, 32, is 3-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 36 games at Omaha. He also spent a brief time earlier this year in the big leagues and pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings against Boston in his only appearance.
The Royals are expected to recall right-handers Louis Coleman and Wade Davis from Hi-A Wilmington on Tuesday — one day after the Blue Rocks conclude their season.
Further promotions are likely when Omaha concludes its season.
Headed back up
Alex Gordon’s average is climbing again since he returned Aug. 22 to the leadoff role. He is 15 for 44 in his last 10 games, which raised his average from .264 to .270.
While Gordon excelled in the past as the leadoff hitter — batting .306 in the role in 2011-12 — he is only batting .259 this season in 93 games atop the lineup.
His best spot this season has been as the No. 3 hitter: a .391 average in 18 games, but he is batting just .224 in 18 games as the cleanup hitter.
Perhaps the only stat that matters is this: The Royals are 52-41 when Gordon bats leadoff; 13-22 when he bats elsewhere.
The Royals officially recalled right-hander Felipe Paulino from his rehab assignment at Class AAA Omaha after he experienced renewed shoulder soreness last Wednesday while working 4⅔ innings at Iowa.
It marks a second setback this season for Paulino in his recovery from reconstructive-elbow surgery. The Royals recalled him from a previous rehab assignment because of shoulder and back issues.
Club officials expressed doubt that Paulino will pitch again this season. He is making $1.75 million this year and will be eligible for arbitration in the off-season.
Paulino, 29, made seven rehab starts this season and, generally, the results weren’t good: 23 runs and 35 hits in 27 2/3 innings. He struck out 26 batters but issued 15 walks.
A winning August
Despite losing the first two games in Toronto, the Royals finished with a winning record in August at 16-15. It was their fourth winning of the season, which they last accomplished in 2003 — and that included a 1-0 March.
The current Royals went 14-10 in April, 8-20 in May, 16-11 in June and 15-10 in July before their winning August.
The last time the Royals had a winning record in four full months was 1989. The last time they had a winning record in five full months was 1980.
Infielder Hunter Dozier, the club’s first-round pick in June, is heading from Low-A Lexington back to short-season Idaho Falls, which entered Saturday leading its division and has a chance to play in postseason.
Dozier, 22, batted .327 in 15 games at Lexington with a .373 on-base percentage. He opened his pro career by batting .293 with a .397 OBP in 47 games at Idaho Falls.
“It gets him more at-bats on the year and a chance to play in meaningful games,” assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said.
The Royals also transferred rehabbing left-hander Noel Arguelles to Idaho Falls from Surprise in the Arizona Rookie League.
Arguelles, 23, made two outings at Surprise in his recovery from a groin injury. He was 1-8 with a 5.93 ERA in 25 games at Class AA Northwest Arkansas prior to his injury.
It was 16 years ago Saturday — Aug. 31, 1997 — that the Royals got home runs from Dean Palmer and Yamil Benitez in a 5-4 loss to St. Louis at Kauffman Stadium.
The two homers were notable because they enabled the Royals to tie a franchise record for homers in a month at 43. They also hit 43 in August 1987.
By comparison, the Royals hit 25 this August, which is still their best output for a month this season. They hit 15 in April, 14 in May, and 20 in June and July. Their 94 homers rank last among AL clubs.
• Royals manager Ned Yost was ejected for the first time this season, but it was his eighth ejection as Royals manager and the 30th of his career.
• Left fielder Alex Gordon threw out two runners, which pushed his major-league-leading total for outfield assists to 14. It was his fifth multi-assist game as an outfielder but his first of the season.
• Jeremy Guthrie recorded his 14th quality start, which matches his 2012 season total.
• The Royals’ bullpen ERA, which leads the American League, actually dipped from 2.56 to 2.55 because all three runs in the eighth inning were unearned.
• First baseman Eric Hosmer went two for three and finished with 14 multi-hit games in August.