Royals claim Arias off waivers from Mets

Royals claim Arias off waivers from Mets

KANSAS CITY -- Infielder Joaquin Arias was claimed on waivers by the Royals from the New York Mets on Thursday.

The Royals had limited options to back up shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt last season and the acquisition of Arias could help fill that void. Betancourt started 151 games at shortstop in 2010 and Mike Aviles started the other 11 games.

Arias' primary position is shortstop although he has played every other infield spot as well as the outfield. His arrival fills the Royals' Major League roster at 40.

Originally signed by the Yankees, Arias became the player to be named in the celebrated 2004 deal that brought Alex Rodriguez to New York from the Texas Rangers in exchange for Alfonso Soriano.

Arias, 26, spent parts of four seasons with Texas, playing in a total of 91 games, before he was dealt on Aug. 31 to the Mets for outfielder Jeff Francoeur and cash.

Last season, for the Rangers and the Mets, the right-handed batter had a .258 (33-for-128) average in 72 games with 13 RBIs. In his Major League career, he's batted .276 with no home runs in 113 games. In 789 Minor League games, Arias has a .285 average over nine seasons.

Arias is from the Dominican Republic and is playing winter ball there with Escogido, batting .241 (7-for-29).

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.