Wednesday Releases from the Royals

Media Relations has been a little busy this afternoon…

YABUTA SIGNED RELEASE: We just announced the signing of right-handed pitcher Yasuhiko Yabuta to a two-year contract with an option for 2010.

According to the releaseYabuta, 34, will become just the second Japanese-born player to appear for the Royals, joining Mac Suzuki, who pitched for the Royals from 1999-2002. Yabuta has spent his entire 12-year professional career pitching for the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League from 1996-2007. A native of Osaka, Japan, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Yabuta is 44-59 with nine saves and a 4.03 ERA in 343 career appearances, including 86 starts.

Yabuta has appeared almost exclusively in relief the past four seasons, including posting a 4-6 mark with four saves, 38 holds and a 2.73 ERA in 58 relief outings for the Marines in 2007. In 62.2 innings, he walked just 10 while striking out 45. Since the 2004 season, he has compiled a 2.80 ERA in 222 games as Chiba Lotte’s main setup reliever.

Yabuta was a key contributor to Japan’s run to the 2006 World Baseball Classic title, posting a 2.08 ERA in four appearances. He allowed just two hits and one run in 4.1 innings, walking one and striking out five. His World Baseball Classic stint included striking out Alex Rodriguez, Derrek Lee and Johnny Damon in a 1.1-inning outing against the United States. For the complete release, click here

SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE RELEASE: Sure it is still November. And, Kansas City technically hasn’t even received the first snow fall of the season. However, as of Wednesday afternoon, we are already dreaming about Spring…the Royals 2008 Spring Training schedule has been released!

This year, we open are sixth season as members of the 12-team Cactus League   on Wednesday, Feb. 27 with a charity game against the Texas Rangers – who we share our Spring Training complex with in Surprise, Ariz. The game will benefit the Surprise Sundancers. Then, the Royals officially open league play on Friday, Feb. 29 in Peoria, Ariz., against the San Diego Padres. The complete schedule can be found here.

Here’s a rundown of Spring Reporting Dates:
February 13 – Pitchers and Catchers Report
February 14 – Pitchers and Catchers First Workout
February 18 – Full Squad Reports
February 19 – First Full Squad Workout

BANKSTON AND MILDREN RELEASE: In other news, infielder Wes Bankston has been claimed off waivers by the Oakland Athletics, while left-handed pitcher Paul Mildren cleared waivers and was outrighted to Omaha. Both players were designated for assignment by the Royals on Nov. 20.

From the releaseBankston, 23, was claimed off waivers by the Royals from the Tampa Bay Rays on Sept. 21. Mildren, 23, made three starts for Omaha in late August after being claimed off waivers from the Florida Marlins on Aug. 17.

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