SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost is all about "Breaking Bad" this spring training. He has downloaded the popular cable TV series onto his iPad and plans to watch episodes as he runs on a treadmill.
The Royals breaking good, however, will be foremost on Yost's mind. On Wednesday, the first day for position players to report, he simply smiled when asked whether a documentary on the Royals' breaking good would be a good download.
The Royals had an awful May last year. After winning their first three games of the month, they lost 19 of their next 23, going from a half-game out of first to 7½ back in the AL Central. That horrible beginning all but doomed them.
"How many ups and downs did we go through last year?" Royals ace James Shields said. "Almost every single kind you could actually think of. This year hopefully we can be a little more consistent with the wins. What did we have, eight wins in May? We experienced a lot of downs early in the season and we were still in it."
The Royals rebounded from their dreadful May to finish 86-76, their first winning record since 2003, and were in the wild-card discussion late. The Royals have not appeared in a playoff game since winning the 1985 World Series when Hall of Famer George Brett was in his prime, Bret Saberhagen won the AL Cy Young and Steve Balboni set a club record with 36 home runs, which still stands.
Can the Royals hike their win total to 90 games and take that next step?
"I don't want 90, I want 100," shortstop Alcides Escobar said.
The Royals start spring training confident they can end a 29-year playoff drought. They signed free agents Omar Infante to play second base and left-hander Jason Vargas to fill a rotation vacancy. They also acquired outfielder Norichika Aoki in a trade with Milwaukee to bat leadoff.
Yost started six players at second base last season. Chris Getz was the regular, hitting .220 with one home run and eight extra-base hits in 78 games. Infante hit .318 in 118 games with Detroit.