KANSAS CITY -- Right-hander Robinson Tejeda, once an integral piece of the Royals' bullpen, has elected to become a free agent, the club announced on Friday.
Tejeda, 29, began the 2011 season as the primary setup man to closer Joakim Soria but struggled and lost velocity on his fastball, which had been his most effective pitch. He went on the disabled list on April 13 with an inflamed right shoulder after seven outings.
Tejeda returned on May 19, but a week later he was designated for assignment. In a total of nine games for the Royals, he had a 6.14 ERA, one loss and opponents hit .387 against him. The most telling statistic was he had just two strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings.
After clearing waivers, Tejeda accepted an assignment to Triple-A Omaha and pitched in 31 games for the Storm Chasers, going 0-3 with a 3.80 ERA and one save. He struck out 43 and walked 15 in 45 innings.
Tejeda was with the Royals for four years, compiling a 9-10 record and a 3.57 ERA in 123 games, including seven starts. The big guy struck out 186 in 181 1/3 innings while walking 98. After a woeful start in 2010, he bounced back to post a 2.05 ERA in his last 44 outings despite missing almost all of August with a strained right biceps.
With that strong finish, Tejeda established himself as one of the Royals' top setup men. More arm problems, however, diminished his velocity this year.
Tejeda was claimed off waivers from the Rangers on June 24, 2008. He started his big league career with the Phillies in 2005.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.