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Yost revels in piloting big games late in season: 'It's 'fun'

SEATTLE -- It's a refreshingly different managerial scene this season for the Royals' Ned Yost.

In his previous seasons with the Royals, at this time of year, at least when the opponent is not in the race, Yost would be using callups from the Minors with a view to the following season.

"You get to a point where, if you're not competing, you're still developing. And if you get to a point where you're competing, development is out. Now you're winning," he said.

And in the Wild Card chase, he's using his regulars and is prone to make quicker hooks of pitchers to maximize matchups and to strategically employ pinch-hitters or pinch-runners more often.

"We're managing for today, we'll worry about tomorrow tomorrow," Yost said. "It's absolutely a postseason approach. It's been like that since we started playing Detroit, Cleveland, the teams we can make ground up on. I told Pete [hitting coach Pedro Grifol]: 'It's time for us to turn into wartime consiglieres. It's time to go -- take no prisoners.' You gotta go, you gotta win every single night."

Earlier in the season, Yost took the precaution of resting his regulars or his bullpen pitchers at times so they would be fresh as possible down the stretch -- just in case. Now that's the case and the managerial juices are flowing.

"It's fun. The excitement and stress is fun," he said. "You wish it could be easier -- you always want life to be easier. I wish we could have a five-run lead every day, but I know that's not going to be the case."

In the Royals' 15 games prior to arriving here, they were playing teams still in the hunt for something -- Detroit, Cleveland and Texas. The last seven games, three at Seattle and four at Chicago, are against teams out of the running, but Yost expects no quarter.

"Everybody's got pretty much the same code of ethics. You play your best guys against teams that are still in it," Yost said before the series opener against the Mariners. "That's what they're doing -- we're seeing the same lineup we saw two weeks ago. They've got their best guys in there."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for
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