Yost continues to push young bullpen

Yost continues to push young bullpen

Yost continues to push young bullpen
CHICAGO -- The Royals continue to work their bullpen hard, especially the top four relievers.

Why shouldn't they? The four-man group of Tim Collins, Kelvin Herrera, Aaron Crow and Greg Holland has been quite impressive.

"I really feel like on a given day I can protect a one-run lead from the sixth inning on with those guys," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

The problem is, Yost did it on Friday in Chicago. The quartet also threw in Thursday's series finale against Texas, but Yost said all will be available on Saturday, too. The skipper knows he can't keep pounding them every day, but also said there are no health concerns with any of them.

As teams across baseball shut down young arms in the season's final month, Yost said there's no such plan for his bullpen crew. Collins (22 years old), Herrera (22), Crow (25) and Holland (26) are all in their first or second full Major League seasons.

"Like any manager, you worry about their health and giving them too much of a workload early. But we are into September," Yost said. "It's all part of them learning how to pitch into September, too, in big games. So yeah, there's going to be times where you're going to be a little fatigued. So what? You've got to get after it."

Yost said getting the experience of pitching in September is key for a young pitcher's maturation. During his nine-year managerial career, Yost has heard pitchers complain about arm soreness late in the season.

"And then they realize, 'Hey, I can pitch through that and I can pitch through that effectively,'" Yost said.

It's those types of experiences that Yost believes help young pitchers in the long run.

"You have to experience [a season] from the first day of Spring Training until Oct. 3," Yost said. "When you've been going hard, and you've had high-anxiety innings and you come into games like Herrera did [Friday] night with the game on the line ... it takes a lot [out] of you.

"But when you're battling for a championship -- the whole August, September and going into October, it's going to be like that. You've got to learn what it feels like, you've go to learn that, 'Hey, I can get through this.'"