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02/14/12 12:00 PM EST

Royals pick up Yost's option for 2013

KANSAS CITY -- Royals management sent manager Ned Yost a special Valentine's Day message on Tuesday. They let him know he'll be back for the 2013 season.

The Royals announced that the club has exercised the 2013 option on Yost's contract.

Yost was hired as the Royals' 16th full-time manager on May 13, 2010, succeeding Trey Hillman, who was dismissed. Later that season, on July 31, Yost signed a two-year extension with an option for '13.

Since Yost took over, the Royals have a 126-163 record but really picked up steam late last season after an influx of top-drawer prospects reached Kansas City. The team finished with a 15-10 mark in September, including a stretch when they won 11 of 14 games.

"It was real exciting seeing them all get to the big leagues last year, and then watching them play together and watching the way they finished up was real impressive to me," Yost said.

Yost's enthusiasm was apparent as he spoke from his office at the Royals' Spring Training complex in Arizona.

"What I like about this job is absolutely everything," Yost said. "I love the city, I love the ballpark. The ownership with the Glasses is phenomenal. Our front office is top-notch, our player development is top tier ... and these young players are a phenomenal group of talented young guys with awesome makeup. So there are really no downsides to this job at all -- none."

General manager Dayton Moore said that Yost's contract extension was made at the outset of Spring Training to avoid any speculation that this could be his last year as manager.

"Ned brings a professionalism, an intensity level, a passion to win each day," Moore said. "He does an incredible job of motivating players and an incredible job of leading."

He added that Yost has a knack of handling players, both youngsters and veterans.

"There's a strong sense of respect that players have for Ned," Moore said. "He keeps that line drawn for a manager-player relationship, and I think it's a healthy relationship that exists -- it's one of respect and control, and Ned has certainly done a tremendous job in creating an atmosphere in the clubhouse that's conducive to winning."

Yost previously spent six years as manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, and his overall record is 583-665 (.467). He was dismissed in September 2008, just before the Brewers reached the playoffs for the first time since 1982. This, obviously, is a different situation, but the extension gives Yost added security.

"It just makes it easier for me," Yost said. "Knowing you have two years, you don't have to answer questions about it being your last year and the distractions that go along with that."

The announcement came just after Yost checked in at the Royals' Spring Training clubhouse in Surprise, Ariz., for the first time this year. Even though camp doesn't officially begin for another week, Yost entered a busy place.

"It's a little cool, but [we've] got a clubhouse full of guys rarin' to go and we're starting the early pitching program today," Yost said. "Everybody's excited and everybody looks great, so it should be a fun day."

Yost's new pitching coach, Dave Eiland, was in camp for an optional session with his new charges.

"I think pretty much everybody's here," Yost said. "I haven't taken a head count, but there are a lot of faces out there. And there are a ton of position players out there, too. Billy Butler and Mike Moustakas -- I'm extremely proud of both of those guys. They could be in the best shape they've been in their careers. Billy looks great, and I didn't even hardly recognize Moose he looks so good."

Yost sounded ready to get started on 2012 -- and the season beyond that as well.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.