Betancourt to fill utility role
The Royals brought back a familiar face on Tuesday as the club signed Yuniesky Betancourt to a one-year contract. It was a year and a day ago that Betancourt was traded to Milwaukee as part of a six-player deal. The veteran spent 2011 as Milwaukee’s starting shortstop, batting .252 with 13 home runs and 68 RBI. He also hit .310 (13-for-42) in the playoffs for the N.L. Central champs.
Yuni will fill a utility role in KC, which includes backing up shortstop Alcides Escobar, one of the players acquired in that trade last December. All but 63 of Betancourt’s 8,288.1 Major League innings on defense have come at shortstop. However, General Manager Dayton Moore noted that Manager Ned Yost expects Escobar to play 150 or more games a year at shortstop. Therefore, expect Betancourt to compete for time at second base and fill in at third base on occasion for left-handed hitting Mike Moustakas.
Moore noted that four or five clubs were looking at Betancourt in a similar utility role. There was a mutual comfort level between the Royals and Betancourt. KC’s coaches see him as a positive player in the clubhouse. Betancourt has familiarity with Royals staff members, including third base and infield coach Eddie Rodriguez, who like Betancourt was born in Cuba.