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Infielder Laird among five signed to Minor League deals

Infielder Laird among five signed to Minor League deals

Infielder Laird among five signed to Minor League deals

KANSAS CITY -- Third baseman Brandon Laird, younger brother of veteran Braves catcher Gerald Laird, signed a Minor League contract with the Royals on Saturday.

Laird, 26, played in 25 games for Houston last season with five home runs and 11 RBIs. He spent most of the season with the Astros' Triple-A club at Oklahoma City with a .277 average, 16 homers and 79 RBIs.

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He's played in the Majors in parts of the last three seasons for the Yankees and Astros, hitting .197 in 53 games. In 2010, Laird totaled 25 homers and 102 RBIs in 138 games for the Yankees' top two farm clubs.

The Royals also signed right-hander Wilking Rodriguez, a Minor League free agent after seven seasons in the Rays' system. He made just eight appearances this year as he recovered from a shoulder injury.

Rodriguez, 23, has pitched in 88 Minor League games, including 64 starts, with a 9-27 record and a 3.90 ERA.

The Royals also re-signed outfielders Gorkys Hernandez, Paulo Orlando and Edinson Rincon to Minor League contracts.

Hernandez, 26, was obtained last July 22 in a trade with the Marlins. For Triple-A New Orleans and Omaha combined, he batted .263 with 25 stolen bases. In 2012, he played in 70 Major League games with the Pirates and Marlins and hit .192.

Orlando, 28, has hit .270 in eight Minor League seasons, including .276 this year for Omaha. He played for Brazil in this year's World Baseball Classic.

Rincon, 23, was obtained from the San Diego organization last June 6, but missed most of the season because of left knee surgery. He played in just 24 games after joining the Royals' organization.

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

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