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Spring production pleases Royals skipper

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It doesn't impress Royals manager Ned Yost all that much that his 12-1-1 team is leading the Major Leagues in hitting with a .341 average. What he likes better is that the Royals are fourth in runs scored with 95.

"The thing that I'm impressed with is our production," Yost said after Saturday's 13-2 rout of the Giants. "Twenty hits, 13 runs. We needed to score more runs than we did last year. We always could find ways to get hits and we were always at the top of the league in batting average but always at the bottom of the league in runs scored. Our production has been fantastic this spring. We're scoring runs and a bunch of them."

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Johnny Giavotella had four RBIs and joined Billy Butler and David Lough with a three-hit game. There were no home runs but Elliot Johnson had two of the Royals' five doubles.

"We're playing together, we have a lot of confidence and we believe in each other," Butler said. "We have a good bunch of guys, we enjoy playing together and we're just out there having fun."

Lough has been one of the Royals' hottest hitters. He's 13-for-23 (.565). He faces an uphill battle to win a backup outfield job but believes he benefited by last September's callup from Triple-A Omaha.

"I think it's a confidence booster," Lough said. "Just getting your feet wet a little bit and being around the guys and playing at that level gives you a little confidence going into Spring Training. And knowing that you can play up here and try to prove that."

Giavotella, scrapping with Chris Getz for the second-base job, boosted his average to .318.

"For me, it's just about getting at-bats under my belt, feeling comfortable in the box," Giavotella said. "I've been getting some extra swings with Jack [Maloof, hitting coach] before the games and just feeling comfortable now."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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