Royals

Ned Yost repeats desire to return to Royals, says continuity important

Updated: 2013-10-01T15:26:44Z

By BOB DUTTON

The Kansas City Star

— Ned Yost on Friday reaffirmed his desire to return next season as the Royals’ manager, although he reiterated nothing has changed in his agreement with general manager Dayton Moore.

Discussions between the two on a new contract won’t commence until the season concludes. But an agreement increasingly seems a foregone conclusion; Yost wants to return, and Moore wants him back.

“I’ve got too much invested here,” Yost said. “These players are a joy to be around. They’re a fun, fun group.”

Moore said earlier this week that “it goes without saying that I want (Yost) back.”

Yost, 59, served as Milwaukee’s manager from 2002 to 2008 and replaced Trey Hillman as Royals manager on May 13, 2010, with a contract that initially lasted only through that season.

A two-year extension, announced July 31, 2010, included a club option for 2013. The Royals exercised that option on Feb. 14, 2012.

“Continuity is very important,” Yost said. “We got right to the brink in Milwaukee when I got fired, and the next year, they were under .500. Continuity is important.

“As long as the clubhouse is healthy, that it has life and energy, that’s a big part of the job.”

Holland charges on

It isn’t just saves. All-Star closer Greg Holland is on the verge of rewriting multiple entries in the Royals’ record book.

Holland set the club’s single-season saves record Thursday by getting No. 46 in closing out a 3-2 victory over the White Sox in the series opener. Now he’s closing in on two strikeout records.

“It says a lot about our team as a whole,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of leads late in the game. That’s because our defense has played well, our pitching has pitched well and our entire bullpen has thrown well.”

Holland needs two strikeouts to match the franchise’s reliever record of 103 by Jim York in 1971. York is also notable for being the first Royals’ draft pick to reach the majors.

Yost said of Holland, “He’s been lights-out fantastic for us all year long.”

Holland seems certain to break his own club record, set last year, for strikeouts per nine innings. He stands at 13.77 with two games remaining after posting a 12.22 mark in 2012. His 11.10 in 2011 is eighth in club history.

Will Smith and Kelvin Herrera are on pace to be fifth and sixth on the club’s list (minimum 30 innings) at 11.61 and 11.48 per nine innings.

Staff K mark

More strikeout numbers: The Royals have two more games to expand a staff strikeout mark set in Thursday’s victory when they recorded as pushed their season total to 1,180. Another dozen on Friday pushed it to 1,192.

Last year’s staff held the previous record at 1,177.

Luke Hochevar got the record-breaking K when he fanned Marcus Simien for the second out in the eighth inning. Holland added two strikeouts in the ninth inning.

Tellingly, the last seven seasons all rank in the club’s all-time top 10 strikeout. That coincides with Moore’s arrival as general manager, and his emphasis on having relievers who possess swing-and-miss skills.

Chen in finale

Veteran lefty Bruce Chen will start, as scheduled, in Sunday’s season finale. Yost had considered switching to rookie Chris Dwyer before opting to stick with Chen, a pending free agent.

“I just feel I’d be pushing Bruce aside,” Yost said, “and I don’t want to do that. He’s been a big part of our second half. He deserves to start. He deserves to finish the year off on a good note.”

Chen, 36, is 8-4 with a 3.38 ERA, including 5-4 with a 3.79 ERA in 14 starts since replacing Luis Mendoza in the rotation. Chen is also coming off a loss in his last start when he allowed four runs in five innings to Seattle.

No. 100

James Shields didn’t hide his satisfaction at becoming the 34th active pitcher to reach 100 victories in his career. Teammate Ervin Santana reached that milestone earlier this season on June 8 in a victory over Houston.

“It definitely would have made for a long offseason,” Shields said. “I’ll tell you what, I think I had four or five wins going into August. I had a tough road ahead of me to get to 100.

“I felt I grinded it out the last two months. Overall, I’m pretty happy with my season. I logged a ton of innings and had a lot of quality starts.”

Shields, 31, improved to 100-82. He got his first victory on June 5, 2006, by pitching seven innings for Tampa Bay in a 4-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte, at 255-153, is the majors’ active leader in career victories. Santana is a pending free agent who is 105-90 after completing a 9-10 season Wednesday in a 6-0 loss at Seattle.

Chen is 79-70, while Jeremy Guthrie is 70-89 after capping off a career-best season, 15-12, by winning Thursday’s series opener in Chicago.

No. 1,000

Veteran infielder Jamey Carroll got his 1,000th career hit Friday when he lined a one-out double off the left-field wall in the fourth inning — and saw it as a promise kept to his son.

“My son, every day when he knows I’m playing, he says, `I hope you get your hit today,’” Carroll said. “So today, he actually told me, ‘When you get the hit, will you stop at second?’

“I told him, `Buddy, maybe I’ll do a head-first slide.’

“As I was rounding first and going to second, I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, there’s going to be a play.’ It’s amazing what things can happen when you don’t want to let your son down. It worked out pretty good.”

Carroll, 39, is the 91st active player to reach milestone, although Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton also entered the weekend with 999. Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is the majors’ active career leader in hits with 3,316.

The Royals acquired Carroll in an Aug. 11 trade with Minnesota for cash or a player to be named later. He was three for 33 in 13 games, prior to Friday, since joining the Royals.

Carroll got his first hit on Sept. 11, 2002, while playing for the Montreal Expos. It was a single to left against Cubs right-hander Andy Benes.

“A long time ago,” Carroll said. “But I’ll tell you what … only 22 more years to 3,000.”

Looking back

It was 26 years ago Saturday — Sept. 28, 1987 — that third baseman Kevin Seitzer went two for four in a 5-1 loss to Seattle at then-Royals Stadium.

Seitzer’s single in the first inning was his 200th hit of the season, which made him the first rookie to achieve that milestone since Philadelphia third baseman Richie Allen and Minnesota outfielder Tony Oliva in 1964.

Seitzer finished with 207 hits, which remains a franchise rookie record. The second-highest total in club history is 194 by Carlos Beltran in 1999.

To reach Bob Dutton, send email to bdutton@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Royals_Report.

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