Royals infielders get extra practice from new ground-ball drill

The Royals incorporated a new wrinkle into their first full-squad workout, concluding Thursday morning with a lively infield drill brought over by third-base coach Dale Sveum.

With most of the team already inside the clubhouse, the infielders stayed on to field a steady stream of grounders chopped in every direction across the diamond. Manager Ned Yost appreciated the drill because of its all-encompassing nature.

“It’s a good little drill, because it covers just about every situation in the infield,” Yost said.

To wit: The fielders threw to every base. They turned double plays. They attacked bunts. The pace was brisk, the chatter was lively, and the execution was “almost flawless,” Yost said.

Defense is a critical piece of this team’s composition. The organization feels its pitching staff is often aided by the athleticism displayed in the field behind them, and is banking on a repeat of 2013’s defensive output.

The Royals boast one of the finest fielding infields in baseball. Alcides Escobar displays impressive range at shortstop. Eric Hosmer is a vacuum at first base. The organization continues to believe in the defense of Mike Moustakas at third base. And one of the biggest additions to the club is second baseman Omar Infante.

Infante raves about Escobar, who he admired these past two seasons while playing for Detroit. Infante estimated it would take only a couple of weeks to develop on-field chemistry with Escobar.

“Spring training is good for that,” Infante said. “Communication, that’s very important. I think we’re going to make a good pair.”

Yost remains pleased with the expediency of his team’s work. The group took the field a few minutes before 10:30 a.m. on Thursday. They exited before 1 p.m.

“We have streamlined our workout to try to be as efficient as we can,” Yost said. “We can do that because we know our guys are focused.”

Dyson OK after scare

Outfielder Jarrod Dyson felt fine a day after experiencing a scare in the batting cage. Facing a pitching machine on Wednesday, Dyson fouled a ball off his right leg and fell to the ground inside the cage. But he moved around with ease on Thursday.

Paredes arrives

Claimed off waivers on Monday, outfielder Jimmy Paredes was in uniform on Thursday morning, meaning the team’s full squad is here.

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