SURPRISE, Ariz. -- What took manager Ned Yost away from Royals camp on Tuesday was the best-kept secret of Spring Training. But let Yost explain.
"I was here until noon," Yost said, with a serious mien. "And then up around Flagstaff, they've got a desert cactus rose that blooms every 75 years and yesterday was the day and I wouldn't miss that."
"I've got some great pictures," he said.
Yost can spin a yarn. Then he told the real story.
"Yesterday at 5 p.m. I had my gall bladder removed and I'm back rarin' to go today," he said, an ice bag on his abdomen concealed by his uniform top. "It's been bothering me for two years and, being hard-headed, I never got it checked."
After arriving for Spring Training, however, Yost saw a doctor and planned to have the outpatient surgery on Tuesday afternoon.
"I didn't want to fly to Kansas City to do it because I knew I'd be up and going the next day," he said.
Yost left camp shortly before the Royals' intrasquad game and went to St. Joseph Hospital in Phoenix for the surgery by Dr. Bob Evani, one of the D-backs' physicians.
"I got down here in Spring Training and it really started acting up and I had a real bad attack one night and I told Nick [Kenney, team trainer] I had to go check it," Yost said. "And I had two or three big stones. One big stone was completely blocking a duct and they had to get it out of there."
It was an arthroscopic procedure but a larger, more invasive incision was a possibility.
"The problem was when it gets really inflamed, if they can't get in there and identify the anatomy, they've got to cut you wide open, so we were 50-50 going in on what was going to have to happen," Yost said.
To hear Yost tell it, there wasn't much to it.
"Two holes here, a hole here and they got it and yanked it right out," he said.
The surgery came at an opportune moment.
"The doctor said, when he was done, 'We got this out in the nick of time because you were really fixin' to have some problems,'" Yost said.
Yost's wife, Deborah, drove him back to their Surprise hotel about 11 p.m. on Tuesday. He had a chocolate milkshake, went to bed and slept soundly. He got up early, went to the clubhouse and got right back to work on Wednesday morning.
The symptoms had been plaguing Yost for at least two years.
"It just feels like you've got four knives in your side and the rest of your insides are tied in like 50 knots and you can't stand up, you can't lay down. It's just horrible pain, but it generally subsides after four or five hours and you get a little sleep," he said.
"The worst part about it is that it comes after like spicy and greasy foods and one of my favorite things during the summer is to eat barbecue ribs. I'd eat 'em and, sure enough, that night you'd have an attack and I wasn't going through it this summer. Those ribs are too important to me."
Spoken like a true gourmet of Kansas City.
Although the players knew Yost was absent for Tuesday's intrasquad game, they were surprised to hear about his surgery and that he was back to work so quickly.
"Now I cannot tell him I need a day off from throwing, can I?" pitcher Bruce Chen said. "I can't say, 'Oh, I'm a little sore here, I'm going to take a day off.' "
Yost admitted he should have had the surgery done earlier.
"I was stupid not to do it this winter. My wife kept telling me to do it but you just endure it and say, 'I'm fine, I'm fine,'" he said. "But, yeah, I was kind of dumb."
He was asked if he'd listen more to Deborah now.
"Probably not," he said. "I love her but, yeah, I should. I'm a little hard-headed. This was probably a better lesson."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.