Bale is back in K.C., Gathright inks with Cubs
John Bale has agreed on a one-year contract with the Royals. The 34-year old left-hander was non-tendered last Friday, making him a free agent. Bale was 0-3 with a 4.39 ERA in 13 appearances (3 starts) in 2008. After moving from the starting rotation to the bullpen and then dealing with multiple injuries, Bale responded with 10 scoreless relief appearances in September, covering 11.1 innings. During that span, he retired 21 consecutive batters before issuing a walk in his final appearance of the season. Bale figures to play a prominent role in the Royals bullpen in 2009.
Joey Gathright, also non-tendered by the Royals on Friday, is now a member of the Chicago Cubs. The 27-year old speedster signed a one-year deal with the North Siders on Tuesday. Gathright batted .254 with 22 RBI and a team-leading 21 stolen bases last season.
Joey will be remembered by Kansas City fans for his great plays that made Sportscenter. You can find your favorite Gathright plays here…and there are many, including his leaping catches to rob Toronto’s Aaron Hill of home runs on back-to-back days in 2007. Don’t forget spring training of 2008 when he leapt over Los Angeles pitcher Hiroki Kuroda while going to first base. After that game, a contingent of Japanese media waited outside of the Royals clubhouse. This was a typical site in spring training as the reporters talked to pitchers Hideo Nomo and Yasuhiko Yabuta on a daily basis. But that night, the reporters wanted to know about the media availability of Gathright, who had jumped over their countryman! Joey became a star in Japan, at least for one day. We wish Joey the best as he moves on to the Cubs.