Royals sign utility infielder Yuniesky Betancourt to a one-year contract

The Royals announced today that the club has signed utility infielder Yuniesky Betancourt to a one-year Major League contract for 2012.  Consistent with club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.  With the signing, the Royals’ 40-man roster stands at 39.

“We have been looking for a utility infielder who could play short, third and second base and we feel Yuni is a great fit,” said Royals’ General Manager Dayton Moore. “He brings a right-handed bat with some power and is a guy we know fits in well in the clubhouse.”

Betancourt, 29, was the starting shortstop for the National League Central Champion Milwaukee Brewers in 2011.  The 5-foot-11, 204-pounder hit .252 with 27 doubles, three triples, 13 home runs, 68 RBI and 51 runs scored during the regular season for the Brewers; then batted .310 with three doubles, a triple, a home run and six RBI in 11 postseason games as Milwaukee advanced to the NLCS before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in six games. 

Betancourt hit .253 with 20 home runs and 105 RBI in 222 games for the Royals in 2009 and 2010 after being acquired in a trade from the Seattle Mariners on July 10, 2009.  Kansas City then traded him and pitcher Zack Greinke to Milwaukee on December 19, 2010 in exchange for shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and pitchers Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi.  Betancourt is a career .268 hitter with 189 doubles, 60 home runs and 375 RBI in seven seasons for the Mariners (2005-09), Royals (2009-10) and Brewers (2011).  Born in Santa Clara, Cuba, he now resides in Miami, Fla.

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