SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals manager Ned Yost, who managed Milwaukee during Ryan Braun's first two big league seasons, wasn't surprised that the Brewers' star won his appeal of a 50-game suspension.
"It didn't surprise me, knowing Ryan Braun, knowing the type of person that he is," Yost said on Friday. "I read some of the releases [on Thursday], talking about the quality of person he is and the quality of player he is -- those are all true. He's a very smart kid.
"I knew when this came up that they had to have some type of extenuating circumstances, because this Ryan Braun would never take performance-enhancing drugs to further his career. He's too talented, he knows that. It shocked me when it came out. I knew there had to be something behind it, and the result showed ... that there was."
The 2-to-1 verdict by a special three-member panel made Braun the first Major Leaguer to successfully appeal a suspected violation of MLB's Drug Treatment and Prevention Program.
"Quite frankly, it would have surprised me if they upheld the suspension," Yost said.
Escobar, Giavotella ink one-year deals
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals got their double-play combination under contract on Friday, signing shortstop Alcides Escobar and second baseman Johnny Giavotella to one-year contracts for 2012.
Escobar, who signed for $519,500, led the Major Leagues in assists (459), putouts (271) and total chances (745), while making only 15 errors in his first season with the Royals. He batted .254 and had 18 sacrifice hits, second most in the Majors.
Giavotella, who got $483,600, took over second base on Aug. 5, when he was called up from Triple-A Omaha. He batted .247 in 46 games for the Royals. During the offseason, he underwent surgery to repair a labral tear in his right hip.
Only three players, all with less than three years' service time, remain unsigned -- catcher Salvador Perez and pitchers Danny Duffy and Vin Mazzaro.
Betancourt excited to be back with Royals
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Yuniesky Betancourt didn't need any help finding his way to the Kansas City clubhouse when he arrived on Friday morning. He's back with the Royals after a year's absence, the result of being traded to the Brewers along with pitcher Zack Greinke.
Unusual, to say the least.
"Yeah, but I'm excited," Betancourt said. "We have good people. I know the organization is good. I had a good year when I played here, so I'm excited to come back."
Acquired from Seattle on July 10, 2009, for two Minor League pitchers, Betancourt's only full season for the Royals was 2010. He batted .259, had career highs of 16 homers and 78 RBIs, and was judged markedly improved defensively at shortstop.
After a .252 season with the Brewers, he was let go and signed as a free agent with the Royals to be a backup infielder. That will mean getting used to playing on the other side of the field at second base.
"That was my position in Cuba before I came here. I played second and short in Cuba," Betancourt said.
Betancourt defected from Cuba in 2005.
First full-squad workout set for Saturday
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The first full-squad practice for the Royals is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT on Saturday at the Surprise complex.
Manager Ned Yost said most of the morning will be taken up by physical examinations for the players, followed by a meeting in the clubhouse. That will include going over team rules and making the necessary introductions of the support staff.
The Spring Training roster includes 57 players, but catcher Manny Pina (knee injury) and outfielder Paulo Orlando (hernia) are out with medical issues. Pitcher Jose Mijares has not arrived because of passport problems in Venezuela.
Outfielder Mitch Maier and infielder Chris Getz were feeling better on Friday, after dealing with illness on Thursday. The medical staff believes the recent spate of ailments is a result of various viruses, rather than one central cause.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.