Ned Yost, manager of the year*

* That asterisk in the headline is to signify that the Sporting News, in its 2013 preview magazine, predicted Ned Yost would win the AL Manager of the Year award.

That's a good sign, right? The magazine also forecast the Royals finishing second to the Tigers in the Central.

The Royals haven’t finished second since the shortened 1995 season when they were 70-74. The last time the Royals finished second with a winning record was 1989 (92-70). The Royals were in the AL West that season, and Kevin Appier was a 21-year-old rookie.

Trading for pitchers James Shields, Wade Davis and Ervin Santana, while re-signing Jeremy Guthrie has lifted expectations. And with it, could come pressure on Yost, particularly if the Royals struggle early.

Yost shrugged that off.

“There’s pressure with everything that you do, there really is, whether it’s expectation and pressure,” Yost said last month at FanFest. “But there are so many variables. You can’t get too carried away and I’m speaking about myself right now, because you know there are a lot of things that have got to happen right.

“And last year we were really excited about the club that we had and then we got hurt. Injures in significant spots that really put a damper on our season. We lost Salvador Perez, we ended up losing Blake Wood, we ended up losing Danny Duffy and (Felipe) Paulino, two guys that we were really counting on to be forces in our starting rotation, and then losing (Joakim) Soria. You know, you gotta stay healthy. And you’ve got to continue to progress in terms of production like your young players are doing and if we can do that, I think it’s going to be an interesting summer.”

That’s certainly the hope around these parts.