Royals sign six players to Minor League contracts for 2014

KANSAS CITY, MO (November 23, 2013) - The Kansas City Royals announced today that the club has signed six players to minor league contracts for the 2014 season. The club plans to announce Major League Spring Training invitations at a later date.

Outfielder Gorkys Hernandez, 26, finished 2013 at Triple-A Omaha, playing in 34 games after a July 22 trade from the Marlins organization. His 25 combined stolen bases with New Orleans and Omaha tied for fifth in the Pacific Coast League. A .278 hitter over eight minor league seasons, Hernandez played in 70 games with Pittsburgh and Miami in 2012.

Third baseman Brandon Laird, 26, joins the Royals from the Houston Astros. The younger brother of veteran catcher Gerald Laird, Brandon has had Major League stints in each of the last three seasons.   He recorded five home runs and 11 RBI in 25 games for the Astros in 2013 and spent the majority of the year at Triple-A Oklahoma City, batting .277 with 16 home runs and 79 RBI. Laird began his career in the New York Yankees organization, earning Eastern League (AA) MVP honors in 2010 and a Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove in 2011.

Outfielder Paulo Orlando, 28, batted .276 with five home runs and 46 RBI in 92 games for Omaha in 2013. Orlando also represented his native Brazil in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. A .270 hitter over eight minor league seasons, Orlando joined the Royals in a 2008 trade with the Chicago White Sox. 

Outfielder Edinson Rincon, 23, played in a combined 24 games at Surprise and Northwest Arkansas in 2013 as he recovered from left knee surgery. The native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, was acquired from the San Diego Padres on June 6, 2013. Rincon has posted a .285 average over 508 minor league games since 2007.

Right-handed pitcher Wilking Rodriguez, 23, joins the Royals after seven seasons in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Rodriguez was limited to eight appearances in 2013 as he recovered from a shoulder injury. He tossed 9.0 scoreless innings for the Gulf Coast Rays in 2013 and has made 88 career appearances (64 starts), posting a 3.90 ERA over 309.1 innings.

Right-handed pitcher P.J. Walters, 28, made eight starts for the Minnesota Twins last season, going 2-5 with a 5.95 ERA in 39.1 innings. Walters also compiled a 7-5 mark and a 4.18 ERA in 19 starts at Rochester (AAA). He has pitched in parts of five Major League seasons for St. Louis (2009-11), Toronto (2011) and Minnesota (2012-13), going 6-10 with a 6.28 ERA in 152.0 innings.