Royals ink Maroth to Minors contract

Royals ink Maroth to Minors contract

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Mike Maroth, an old rival, was signed on Friday by the Royals.

Maroth, a free agent, was signed to a one-year Minor League contract and invited to Major League Spring Training as a non-roster player.

He could figure in the search for a fourth and fifth starter in the rotation.

Maroth played for most of six years with the Detroit Tigers and was traded last June 22 to the St. Louis Cardinals.

In 161 big league games -- 150 of them starts -- he has a 50-67 record and a 5.05 ERA. Ten of his victories, the most over any other club, have come against the Royals. Kansas City dealt him eight defeats.

"Mike has been a guy who has pitched a lot of innings when he's healthy and he knows the league," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said.

"He'll be competing for a spot on our pitching staff and he will give us some depth."

Maroth arrives at a time when Jorge De La Rosa and John Bale are the top candidates to give the rotation a left-handed starter.

Last season, Maroth was 5-2 in 13 games for the Tigers when he was traded to the Cardinals, who were desperate for a starting pitcher. The Cardinals gave up pitcher Chris Lambert, a former first-round Draft choice.

At the time, the Tigers were deep in left-handed pitchers with Kenny Rogers ready to resume pitching.

Maroth had an impressive first start for the Cardinals against the New York Mets but then had problems. Eventually, he was sent to the bullpen and spent time on the disabled list with elbow injuries.

Hot Stove

In 14 games (seven starts) for the Cardinals, he was 0-5 with a 10.66 ERA. He gave up 11 home runs with 23 strikeouts and 17 walks in 38 innings. He was released on Oct. 25.

Moore said that if Maroth does not make the Royals' Major League roster, he'll go to Triple-A Omaha. His signing brings the Royals' camp roster to 61 players, including 31 pitchers.

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