Royals sign four to Minor League contracts

Royals sign four to Minor League contracts

KANSAS CITY -- Four players with varying degrees of Major League service have signed Minor League contracts with the Royals for 2012 -- outfielder Greg Golson, right-handed pitcher Juan Gutierrez, catcher Max Ramirez and left-handed pitcher Francisley Bueno.

Golson, 26, played briefly the last two seasons for the Yankees and for the Rangers in 2009 and the Phillies in 2008. In 40 big league games, he's batted .182 (8-for-41). Last summer the right-handed batter from Austin, Texas, hit .263 for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the Yankees' system with eight homers, 33 RBIs and 15 stolen bases.

Gutierrez, 28, will be rehabbing in 2012 after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in September. He's pitched in 150 Major League games for the Astros and D-backs with a 5-10 record and 4.79 ERA. From Barcelona, Venezuela, he was the D-backs' closer for a time in 2009 and 2010 and was 24-for-28 in save chances.

Ramirez, 27, moved between three organizations -- Cubs, Astros and Giants -- at the Triple-A level last summer and batted .278 with 13 homers and 48 RBIs in 83 games. A product of Barquisimeto, Venezuela, he played in 45 Major League games with the Rangers (2008, 2010) and hit .217 (25-for-115).

Bueno, 30, born in Havana, Cuba, was 7-5 with a 4.15 ERA in 15 starts last season for Monterrey in the Mexican League. He's now pitching for Licey in the Dominican Winter League and is 3-2 with a 2.15 ERA in 10 games including six starts. He pitched in one big league game for the Braves in 2008.

The Royals have not announced which non-roster players will be invited to Spring Training at Surprise, Ariz.

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