That no-nonsense toughness that Royals manager Ned Yost often exudes isn’t just eyewash. He returned to duty Wednesday after undergoing surgery Tuesday afternoon to remove an increasingly troublesome gall bladder.
“It’s been bothering me for two years,” he said. “Being hard-headed, I never got it checked. I got down here in spring training, and it really started acting up. I had a real bad attack. I told (trainer) Nick Kenney that I needed to go check it.
“I had two or three big stones. One big stone was completely blocking a duct. They had to get it out of there. I went in (Tuesday), checked in the hospital at 1:30, and they did the surgery about five. I got home about 11. I got up at 5:45 raring to go.”
Yost kept the surgery a secret from all but a few people in the organization. He left Tuesday’s workout prior to an intrasquad game with no public explanation beyond that he planned to return for Wednesday’s practice.
News of Yost’s operation – and return – moved quickly through the clubhouse.
“Unbelievable,” third baseman Mike Moustakas said. “I saw him walking out and asked him how he’s doing and he said, ‘I’m fantastic.’ I’m like, ‘Skipper, you just got four holes put in you, take it easy.’ He said, ‘Moose, I wouldn’t miss a day out here.’
“You know what? If anybody pulls up with a tight hamstring, or a sore finger, Ned has that trump card in his back pocket. He’s got the gall bladder. It’s awesome to see him walking around out here. Just gives us a little more inspiration to go get it.”
Catcher Salvy Perez said Yost was “pretty tough,” while pitcher Luis Mendoza added: “It doesn’t matter what he’s got, he’s here working every day, and that’s good for us. That motivates us.”
Yost offered a practical reason for having the surgery at this time.
“The worst part comes after spicy and greasy foods,” he said. “One of my favorite things during the summer is to eat barbecued ribs. I’d eat them and, sure enough, that night I’d have an attack. I wasn’t going through that this summer.
“Those ribs are too important to me.”
Yost said he never considered not coming Wednesday to the complex but wouldn’t expect a player to do so. “I sit on my rear end all day and watch,” he said. “They’ve got to work. No, they wouldn’t be able to do much for the next two weeks, probably. I really don’t feel too bad, honestly. It hurts a little bit to breathe. Besides that, I feel pretty good.
“I’ll just take it slow for a couple of days. I’ll be fine.”
Yost added he’d advocate an extended rest for any media members undergoing the procedure: “I would tell you guys to sit home for two or three weeks and make sure you feel really good when you come in.”
The gall bladder sits just below the liver on the right side of the chest. It serves to concentrate the bile produced by the liver, but its removal – a procedure called cholecystectomy – is generally easily tolerated.
Yost initially offered a joke in an attempt to minimize the surgery.
“I was here until noon,” he said, “and then…up by Flagstaff, they’ve got a desert cactus rose that blooms every 75 years, and (Tuesday) was the day, and I wasn’t going to miss it. I’ve got some great pictures.”
Pressed to see those pictures, Yost acknowledged he underwent surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. Dr. Venkata Evani, one of the Diamondbacks’ team physicians, performed the procedure.
“This stone was as big as a quarter,” Yost said. “It was lodged up in a duct. The doctor said, `We got this out in the nick of time. You were really fixing to have some problems.’ They got it. I’m done. Let’s move on.”