Hosmer, Royals welcome first spring off-day

Hosmer, Royals welcome first spring off-day

MESA, Ariz. -- The Royals' pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training more than a month ago, and the rest of the team followed four days later. So Monday's first off day of the spring is a welcomed occurrence.

"It's always good to have a free day and clear it up mentally," first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "To have the mental day and kind of chill is good for a lot of guys."

The brief break comes at an especially good time for the Royals. They played a pair of split-squad games over the weekend in Texas and Arizona.

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"It's coming at an almost perfect time," manager Ned Yost said. "It just kind of resets a little bit. I kind of like having the off day where it's at because we go down to under two weeks and start ramping up the guys' workload."

When the team returns on Tuesday it will play 10 games in nine days to close out the Cactus League schedule and get another day off before playing the D-backs in a pair of exhibition games at Chase Field on April 1 and 2.

Starters will begin to play three days in a row and pitchers will lengthen out the outings in the final stretch run before the regular season. Yost and his staff have just a couple decisions to make regarding the final roster.

"It's a good spot to take a break," Yost said. "It's been hot here and we kind of catch our breath and get ready here for the opening of the season."

Yost will spend Monday afternoon playing in a golf tournament with the organization's Minor League coaches. He said it will be the only time he golfs all year.

Thus far, Spring Training has been a relative breeze. Outfielder Jarrod Dyson's oblique injury that is expected to land him on the disabled list to start the season has been the lone hitch.

"We had a little hiccup with Dyson but everyone has been healthy for the most part and that's all you can ask for in Spring Training really," Hosmer said. "This group has a lot of experience and everyone knows what they need to do to get ready for the season. We have to continue on and be ready to go on Opening Day."

The Royals open defense of their World Series title against the Mets at home on April 3. They get three off-days that first week.

Chris Gabel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.