Royals fans may gripe about Raul Mondesi batting in two key situations Tuesday night, but manager Ned Yost has long remained consistent in his handling of young players.
Yost rarely pinch hits, because he likes to give players the chance to prove themselves. Think back to the second game of the 2014 season when Yost declined to pinch hit for Alcides Escobar late in a game in Detroit.
“Pinch hitting for guys gets in their dome,” Yost said at the time. “And you don’t want to get in their dome in the second game when nobody is really swinging the bat good.”
Boy, doesn’t that sound familiar?
A number of Royals hitters are struggling, but none more than Mondesi, 21, who is batting .114 with 13 strikeouts and two walks in 41 plate appearances.
Mondesi came up in two key situations in Tuesday night’s 2-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants. In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Royals had runners on first and second with two outs, but Mondesi struck out. In the 11th inning, the Royals again had runners at first and second with two outs and Mondesi struck out again, ending the game.
Yost was asked afterward about whether he considered using a pinch hitter, and he consulted with coaches Dale Sveum, Don Wakamatsu and Pedro Grifol.
“We all talked about it, should we pinch hit for Mondi here and to a man, Dale, Wak, Pedro and myself, nobody would recommend it,” Yost said. “We just all felt like Mondi, the guy’s going to throw him a fastball, he’s a good fastball hitter and he could make something happen.”
Yost is patient with young hitters, so it should be no surprise that he earlier told The Star’s Sam Mellinger that he wanted to give Mondesi time.
“At least for the first month,” Yost said. “Give him a fair first full month, and see where we’re at at the end of that. It does take some time.”