SURPRISE, Ariz. -- It's a different uniform number this year for Ned Yost. The Royals' manager has switched from No. 2 to No. 3.
That's the same number he wore as Milwaukee manager, honoring his late friend, NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt. The switch was made by equipment manager Jeff Davenport immediately after shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt was traded to Milwaukee, vacating No. 3.
"Davvy was on top of it," Yost said. "As soon as he was traded, he called and said, 'Do you want 3?' And I said, 'Yeah, just give it to me.'"
New shortstop Alcides Escobar takes over No. 2. Other newcomers and their numbers include Jeff Francis, 26; Vin Mazzaro, 32; Melky Cabrera, 53, and Jeff Francoeur, 21. Lorenzo Cain, the center fielder who came in the Zack Greinke deal, gets 6 and he's already been warned by its former owner, Willie Wilson, that he expects a lot.
There's no sentimentality involved for long-term favorites who were traded. Outfielder Derrick Robinson takes over David DeJesus' No. 9 and infielder Jeff Bianchi was assigned Greinke's 23.