04/01/12 9:10 PM ET
Yost pleased with Royals' run in Arizona
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
Fifty days after arriving to supervise Spring Training, manager Ned Yost will take his team to two more exhibition games against the Padres in California. The Royals leave Arizona with a 15-15 record.
"I'm real pleased with the way that camp went," Yost said. "My focus, coming into this camp, was to make sure we were very, very solid fundamentally. And I feel leaving here that this is the best fundamental club that I've ever had. We do a really good job of doing the things that nobody sees."
Or maybe things that many fans don't really notice too much in the course of a game.
"Cutoffs, relays, rundowns, pickoffs," Yost said, citing a few examples. "Everybody does a real good job in understanding what their role is during the play, and everybody is pretty proficient in being in the right spot at the right time. You don't want to make little mistakes that go unnoticed that will cost you ballgames. We've worked really hard at the fundamental aspects of our game and our guys are really good at it."
The basics also met Yost's approval.
"I'm pleased with the way the guys are swinging the bat at the end, I'm happy with our starting rotation -- its going to be very solid. I'm happy with our 'pen," he said.
A downside was injuries to catchers Salvador Perez and Manny Pina, and pitchers Joakim Soria, Blake Wood and Felipe Paulino.
"You have to [cover it], but we have the depth to do it," Yost said. "Injuries are going to be part of the game, I mean, ask the Cleveland Indians last year. You're going to have to deal with it. That's a part of the game. That's a part you don't like but you have to deal with it."
The crushers were losing his highly-regarded starting catcher, Perez, for half the season, and his longtime premier closer, Soria, for the entire season.
"They were big hits, no doubt about it. But you can't dwell on it, you can't worry about it, you just move on," Yost said.
Chen sharp in final tuneup before opener
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Left-hander Bruce Chen's final tuneup for Opening Night against the Angels couldn't have gone much better.
Chen pitched four scoreless innings in Sunday's 6-4 loss to the Mariners, giving up three hits and a walk with six strikeouts.
"I think I'm ready for the season," he said.
Chen, after struggling in his first four Cactus outings, found himself in his last two games. He pitched six-plus innings last Tuesday, allowing three runs, in a win over the Mariners, in which he also had six strikeouts with one walk.
"I worked very hard in the offseason to prepare myself. Early in Spring Training things were not going my way. I try to make pitches and try to keep everything positive," Chen said. "My arm feels great, I feel like I was throwing my pitches and I was around the zone, and the last couple of times everything has come together. I'm very happy and I'm very glad that it's at the right time."
One of the three hits against him by the Mariners was a sun-ball double that left fielder Alex Gordon couldn't see. Fortunately, the ball didn't hit him as it fell.
"It's the sun, you can't do anything about it," Chen said. "Nobody got hurt, nobody scored, and it's good for us that nothing happened but a double."
Manager Ned Yost, even after Chen gave up 10 runs to the White Sox in his fourth start, remained confident that his veteran lefty had a plan of preparation that would pay off. It did on Sunday.
"Bruce was dialed in. He kind of real quickly got to midseason form, using his fastball, changing speeds, keeping the ball down," Yost said. "He's ready."
"I'll take my stuff today into any day, every time in the season," Chen said.
Collins hits rough patch against Mariners
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Tim Collins breezed through his first 10 Cactus League games with hardly a problem. He gave up with just one earned run in 10 1/3 innings with 12 strikeouts and one walk.
Then came Sunday.
Collins, one of the left-handers in the Royals' bullpen, was charged with all of the Mariners' runs as they erupted for six runs in the sixth en route to a 6-4 victory.
"Timmy had a rough day," manager Ned Yost said. "He's had a great spring, but he just had a rough day today."
An error by third baseman Mike Moustakas made two of the runs unearned. However, Collins gave up a three-run homer to Miguel Olivo which was followed by Kyle Seager's solo blast, and he also surrendered three singles and two walks.
Collins' ERA went from 0.87 to 4.22.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.