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Yost upbeat about his health, state of his club

With 60 players in camp, Royals to hold first full-squad workout Thursday

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A year ago Wednesday, Royals manager Ned Yost was in a hospital getting his gall bladder removed. The next day he was at the training complex back at work, albeit with an ice pack on his abdomen.

"Yeah, it didn't matter," he said Wednesday.

So how's he feeling this year?

"How am I feelin'? Mostly with my fingers," he said, drumming his desk.

So this year, he's crackin' wise and feeling very good, about his team as well as himself.

The Royals will have their first full-squad workout Thursday. On Wednesday's official reporting day, the last of the infielders and outfielders checked in. They were shortstop Alcides Escobar and newly acquired outfielder-infielder Jimmy Paredes.

That gives the Royals a full complement of 60 players -- 30 pitchers, six catchers, 12 infielders and 12 outfielders. Forty are on the Major League roster, the other 20 are invited non-roster players.

Thursday's schedule will include a pre-workout meeting where Yost will introduce various staff members for the benefit of the newcomers and then they'll go to work. There'll be five full days of practice, followed by intrasquad games on Feb. 25-26 and the first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Feb. 27.

The infielders and outfielders had their last unofficial batting practice Wednesday.

"What you see out here is really the tip of the iceberg," Yost said. "They're starting in the cages at 6:30 in the morning, working at individual drills. They're just trying to put good swings on the ball out here. We want guys hitting the ball out of the ballpark. We want guys to have that feel and it happens a lot in batting practice -- it always has."

Justin Maxwell powered the day's last long drive, a monster sock to left field.

"Maxie does that every day," Yost said. "[Norichika] Aoki looks great, Esky looked good today, but again it's only BP. Once the games start and the seasons starts, that's what's most important, but you can see the confidence that they have, the freeness in their swings and I guess you could say it's a little exciting to sit back and watch these guys swing the bat the way they do, because you can foresee how it's going to transition into the game."

One of the Royals' disappointments last year was the inability to score more runs over 2012.

"We're better equipped to score more this year and that makes it more exciting," Yost said.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for
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