07/28/12 2:30 AM ET
Yost, Royals battling through rough patches
Skipper maintaining positive outlook amid a tough three-week stretch
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
"You try to stay as steady as possible," Yost said. "You don't want to do crazy stuff that you wouldn't do if you were winning ballgames. You try to stay as even keeled as you can. Stay positive, keep working, we don't change anything -- we don't work more, we don't work less. When we're going good, we work a lot so try to maintain the same base when things are going bad as when things are going good."
No doubt about it, things have been bad. After losing 6-1 to the Mariners on Friday, the Royals were 6-19 since June 30.
"We stay positive, we stay encouraging, we stay the same," Yost said. "So you try not to portray any type of panic or disappointment, even though it's disappointing the way we've played. But you've got to continue to find ways to get out of it."
There is one primary solution for Yost.
"For us, the way to get out of it is to pitch better," he said. "Inconsistency is a big part of our problem right now. We have to become more consistent, we have to command the ball better down in the zone and we have to be aggressive."
While hoping for that to happen, Yost deals out encouragement to his young players while being alert to any signs of individual letdowns.
"My focus is that they continue to play hard and if you see signs that guys are getting discouraged and taking it into the game, then they've got to come out of the lineup," Yost said. "But we haven't seen that. They all show up ready to go. Our mindset can't be on the last three weeks. Our mindset has to be when we come to the park every day is starting a new [winning] streak. You can't think about the last three weeks, because the last three weeks have been horrible."
In just that three-week span, the record was 4-14. Even so, Yost hasn't sensed that any players are packing it in and calling it a day or a season.
"No, they wouldn't be on the field," he said. "That's the one thing. When things are going bad, you're really watching to be sure the guys are showing up with the same intensity every single day and they are. It's the same or more intensity. ... It's a group that I've been proud of their focus and intensity every single day."
Royals don't appear close to Deadline deals
SEATTLE -- With just a few days left before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, there's no indication that the Royals are close to any deals.
General manager Dayton Moore said "it's business as usual" with conversations with a lot of teams.
"Our focus hasn't changed," he said. "We want to do everything in our power to give our team an opportunity to win, not only today but into the future, so anything that we do would be predicated on building and adding to this current group of young, talented players."
Moore wouldn't comment on inquiries about four players that reportedly have sparked some interest -- closer Jonathan Broxton, right fielder Jeff Francoeur, reliever Jose Mijares and infielder Yuniesky Betancourt.
Not much speculation has surfaced lately on Francoeur, who is battling a slump and was 1-for-18 on this trip after an 0-for-3 Friday night.
"I like it here. I know I need to do better, but I want to be here and be a part of this," Francoeur said. "I'm working hard with Seitz [hitting coach Kevin Seitzer] to turn this thing around. I've gone through it before, it's nothing new, and I'll go through it again. It's just getting out of it and it's magnified when the team isn't going good. When you're winning games, it's easy to go through it -- I've done that with Atlanta. But when you're losing games, it's never fun."
Moose knows all about turning double plays
SEATTLE -- The Royals' Mike Moustakas, gaining notice for his defensive play this season, entered Friday's play leading all Major League third basemen by participating in 32 double plays.
Moustakas deflected credit to second basemen Yuniesky Betancourt and Chris Getz, shortstop Alcides Escobar and first baseman Eric Hosmer.
"It shows a lot about our infield. With Getzy and Yuni being over there and able to turn it, and then Esky with all the range he covers, it just lets me to get balls a lot easier," Moustakas said. "And then you've got to take into account when the second baseman doesn't get a good feed from me and he has to rush his throw, and then Hoz is over there picking it up. With those double plays, it's nice because it's all of us, it's not just me -- it's all the infield working together."
Moustakas also credits the coaching he's received the last two years from third-base coach Eddie Rodriguez and in the Minors from Mike Jirschele, Mark Harris and Brian Rupp.
"My job over at third is easy. All I have to do is field it and get it over to the guys that make the plays. On a double play, all I have to worry about is catching it and getting it over to Getzy or Yuni, and they have to do hard part in turning it," he said.
Frenchy forces issues with his strong arm
SEATTLE -- Jeff Francoeur's throw from right field notched a forceout at second base in Thursday night's game and he came close to getting a second one.
In the first inning of a 4-1 loss to the Mariners, John Jaso's fly ball dropped in front of Francoeur, but he snatched it up and fired to shortstop Alcides Escobar to force runner Casper Wells. In the fourth inning, Mike Carp was on first when Miguel Olivo singled to right and Frenchy again got off a throw that arrived at second base ahead of Carp, but it was off to the center field side and Carp was safe.
"It just tailed on me and it just ran. What are you gonna do?" Francoeur said. "I was fired up."
The strong-armed Francoeur, who had 109 assists since 2005 entering Friday's game at Safeco Field, has thrown out one batter at first base, but forcing a runner at second base is almost as difficult a feat.
"I've maybe only done that two or three times," Francoeur said. "That's what I was laughing about with my dad -- I almost had two in three innings. I don't think I've ever done that."
Right-hander Kyle Zimmer, the Royals' first-round selection in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, made his first start for Class A Kane County and worked four innings, giving up one run in a 4-0 loss to Wisconsin. Zimmer allowed five hits with five strikeouts and zero walks. He has yet to walk a batter in 14 innings as a pro.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.