What can the Royals expect from Ned Yost?

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Ned Yost.jpgThe Royals’ obsession with former Braves continued when they named Ned Yost to replace Trey Hillman yesterday. Yost was a Braves coach back during the 90s run, and Dayton Moore knows him well.  In that respect this move fits in with other plates of comfort food Moore has ordered like Tony Pena, Jr., Kyle Davies, Horacio Ramirez, Odalis Perez, Bryan Pena.

Of course, contrary to conventional wisdom, those re-acquisitions by Dayton Moore have actually paid off pretty well.  Inspiring moves? Nah. And no, they haven’t resulted in anything spectacular, but they haven’t burnt the team too bad, either because the performance of the acquisition was moderately acceptable or because the cost was not too great.

Which pretty much describes Ned Yost.  Yost was lauded in his early years with the Brewers for creating a good atmosphere for young players. True, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder would have hit under any manager, but a lot of the other guys —  guys like Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy, and Bill Hall — got more or less regular playing time and a stable environment in which to play as they came up.  Yost deserves credit for that, and for smootly transitioning the Brewers from a team of bad old players into an up and coming squad during his tenure.

On the other hand, he appeared to lose the Brewers’ clubhouse as those players got a bit older, and some have questioned whether veterans will listen to him.

Yost also had great difficulty managing the Brewers’ bullpen — especially during the team’s collapse down the stretch in 2007 — and appeared to have some problems with his temper and possibly even his sanity, getting tossed out of three games in a week at one point and engaging in a silly war of beanballs and bad blood with the Cardinals when cooler heads would have let it all go.

But pressure isn’t going to be an immediate problem for the Royals, because they’re not in danger of facing any, at least from a baseball perspective, any time soon.  There are a lot of veterans on this team who may try Yost’s patience — Jose Guillen and Yuniesky Bentancourt spring to mind — but it’s not like anyone not named Grienke, Soria or Butler has a lot of room to make waves. Basically anyone is expendable.

The Royals do have an improving farm system and, if he holds on long enough, Yost might be the man to ease the youngins’ transition into the major leagues.  But like I said this morning, I think Yost is a bridge-the-gap guy, and just don’t think he’s going to last long enough to see that really happen.

Still, he’s a pleasant enough fellow to have around for the time being.

Cavaliers will move ring ceremony to avoid conflict with World Series start

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 11: A general exterior image of the Quicken Loans arena which is next door to Progressive Field where the Chicago White Sox will take on the Cleveland Indians on July 11, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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In a show of good sportsmanship, the Cleveland Cavaliers have moved their championship ring ceremony start time back to 7 PM EDT to avoid conflicting with the start of the World Series opener on Tuesday. The Indians are set to host Game 1 at Progressive Field on October 25, while the Cavs will open the 2016-17 NBA season against the New York Knicks at the nearby Quicken Loans Arena, preceded by a ceremony recognizing their first franchise title.

In the event that the Indians clinch a World Series title, it’ll be the first time Cleveland has seen two championships in the same calendar year since 1948, when the Indians’ last Series title came on the back of the Cleveland Browns’ All-American Football Conference championship against the Buffalo Bills. The same was true for the Dodgers in 1988, when their World Series win against the Athletics coincided with the Los Angeles Lakers’ 11th championship, while Chicago has yet to see a multi-title year among their NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB franchises.

Regardless of the Series’ outcome, Cleveland fans will get the chance to revel in one long-awaited championship win on Tuesday before watching the beginning of a nail-biting conclusion to another long-awaited playoff run. The Cavaliers are scheduled for 7 PM EDT on October 25, while the Indians will take the field at 8 PM EDT.

Indians could benefit from long rest before the World Series

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 09: Danny Salazar #31 of the Cleveland Indians delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on September 9, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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If any team can turn a six-day rest period into an advantage, it’s the Indians. The club polished off their pennant race with another injured starter and an overtaxed bullpen, as Trevor Bauer exited in Game 3 of the ALCS with a laceration on his right pinky finger, leaving the bullpen to shoulder 16 innings through the last three games of the series. On Friday, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reported that injured starter Danny Salazar could rejoin the rotation in the World Series, though he’ll need at least one more simulated game before Terry Francona determines whether or not he’s fit to return for the team’s last postseason push.

Bauer, who has been under the close watch of hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham, told the press that he feels confident that he’ll be ready for a World Series start when the final showdown commences on Tuesday. Keeping the wound bandaged is not an option during games, and Bauer said that Dr. Graham decided against additional stitches to keep the laceration from re-opening. Instead, they’re banking on extra days of rest to heal the cut naturally. Should Francona pencil the right-hander into the lineup for Game 3 or 4, he’ll have had 10-11 days to rest his finger between starts — just a hair under the seven games Bauer said he was prepared to pitch.

Salazar, too, has been preparing for a World Series showdown. He’s scheduled to pitch three innings of a simulated game this weekend, and if it goes well, it could land him a spot in the starting rotation alongside Bauer, Corey Kluber, Josh Tomlin, and newcomer Ryan Merritt. Salazar has been sidelined since September 9 with a right forearm strain, and even after undergoing a rigorous throwing program over the last several weeks, any kind of comeback is expected to be curbed by a strict innings limit. Francona has been understandably tight-lipped about his World Series roster, but he hasn’t yet nixed the idea of utilizing Salazar out of the rotation, provided the right-hander remains healthy for another week or so.

The Indians have had to remain flexible throughout their seven-game playoff run after weathering injuries to Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer, pushing their rotation through several games on short rest and relying heavily on Andrew Miller and Cody Allen‘s one-two punch in the ‘pen to clinch more than a few postseason victories. While history doesn’t always favor the first team to secure their league’s pennant race, an extra week of rest should only benefit Cleveland’s beleaguered pitching staff.