Fielder, Kendall given day off
Yost explains policy of allowing veterans spring respite
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Jason Kendall is missing in action. So is Prince Fielder.
They haven't been seen Thursday at Maryvale Baseball Park, and they haven't been seen anywhere near Tucson Electric Park either.
Where, oh where, are Kendall and Fielder? Are they AWOL?
No, manager Ned Yost said. He wasn't looking for them, though.
"Why would I see them?" Yost said Thursday. "Today was their off-day."
Earlier in the week, Yost said he likes to give his veteran ballplayers a day to themselves, and the old pro that Kendall is, he decided to skip the two-hour-plus bus trip to Tucson. Fielder found the bus trip here worth skipping as well, and he joined Kendall in staying away from the baseball field.
Call it the perks of being a veteran. Or just Yost's philosophy on how to get the most from his players.
"I like to ask them, 'OK, I want you guys to go to the calendar and pick a day where you don't even have to come to the ballpark -- something that maybe you've got family coming in,'" Yost said in explaining their absence.
Yost said the day off can be welcomed relief from the grind of six weeks of baseball. His players have been working hard since they arrived in Spring Training, he said. With only one scheduled day off, they could use another open day to recharge.
He gives it to them, too.
"This is not even show up anywhere around this place," Yost said. "Sleep in; go do whatever you want."
So as the Brewers prepared to take on the Diamondbacks, they were doing so without two of the best players in camp. Both will be back Friday for the game in Peoria, Ariz., against the Padres, as will Ryan Braun, whom Yost told to stay home because of a sore Achilles.
A few more players will get a day off in the weeks ahead, Yost said. Those players who do get this perk have earned it.
"For our starters," Yost said. "It doesn't go for everybody -- the guys that play every day."
Justice B. Hill is a senior writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.