Elliot Johnson’s versatility is, Royals manager Ned Yost believes, about to amplify Jarrod Dyson’s pinch-running value as a late-game weapon.

“It opens up a whole new realm of possibilities,” Yost said. “Last year, we would pinch-run for Billy (Butler) and Sal (Perez).

“This year if we get into the ninth inning in a tie game, I can pinch-run for Frenchy (Jeff Francoeur), Alex Gordon, Moose (Mike Moustakas) along with Billy and Sal.

“I’ve got Elliot Johnson who can play anywhere in the outfield and anywhere in the infield. I’ve also got (Miguel) Tejada who can play just about anywhere in the infield.

“So I don’t feel like I’m losing defensive coverage if I want to pinch-run somebody to take a chance on winning a ballgame in the ninth.”

Dyson stole 30 bases last season in 35 attempts, including five in seven attempts in late-game situations as a pinch-runner. He entered Monday’s 1-0 loss to Chicago in the eighth inning for Butler, who drew a two-out walk.

Since Alcides Escobar was already on third, Dyson didn’t to steal second but, usually, when he gets the call late in games, he’ll be on the move.

“When I go in there (in late-game situations),” he said, “I’m ready to go. I mean, I’m ready to go at all times — but especially then.

“You can say there’s pressure on me, but it’s mostly on the pitcher because he knows he’s got to get me. I’m not worried about him picking me off. I’m trying to get to second. If they get me, so be it.”

That attitude, Yost said, is what makes Dyson a perfect fit as a pinch-runner in late-game situations.

“Dyson is more than fast,” Yost said. “He’s fearless. That combination is very dangerous to the opposition.”

Johnson is the key.

“I’m just amazed,” Yost said. “At every position we put him at, defensively, he does an outstanding job. The versatility that we acquired in that trade with Shields and Wade Davis has been very, very impressive.”