Make no mistake: Jeff Francoeur has the inside track to start in right field for the Royals next season.
But if something should happen to Frenchy, perhaps someone of French lineage will be ready if called upon: Xavier Nady.
The Royals on Friday signed Nady to a minor-league contract. His full name is Xavier Clifford Nady VI. According to a New York Times story, the continual line of Xavier Nadys stretches back more than 150 years, to Nady’s great-great-great-grandfather, who moved his family from France to Iowa.
The new Royal has a son named Xavier Nady VII.
Nady, 34, had a whirlwind 2012. The 6-foot-2, 215 pound Nady was waived by the Nationals in July after batting .157 with three homers and six RBIs in 40 games with Washington. He had a wrist injury early in the year, but still made 24 starts for the Nationals, with 15 in left field and nine in right.
On Aug. 5, Nady signed a minor-league contract with the Giants and was sent to Class AAA Fresno. His contract was purchased from Fresno on Sept. 1, and he made 15 starts in left field, batting .240 with one homer and seven RBIs in 19 total games.
“Obviously, when you have a chance to throw on a big-league uniform, it’s always an opportunity,” Nady told the San Francisco Chronicle after being recalled. “I grew up a Giants fan, and coming to a team that’s in first place, it’s a wonderful time.”
Nady, who struggled with a hamstring injury with San Francisco, was on the Giants’ postseason roster for their first-round series against the Reds. He went hitless in five at-bats and walked once. He didn’t play in the NLCS or the World Series.
In 11 seasons in the majors, Nady has played with the Padres (2000, 03-05), Mets (2006), Pirates (2006-08), Yankees (2008-09), Cubs (2010), Diamondbacks (2011), Nationals and Giants.
An odd fact: Nady was the first player in major-league history with a name beginning with the letter X to hit a homer when in 2003 as a member of the Padres he connected against the Giants.
Nady, whose nickname is X or X-man, has a career .270 average with a .324 on-base percentage, 101 home runs and 406 RBIs. A right-handed hitter, Nady’s best season came in 2008, when he hit .305 with 25 home runs and 97 RBIs for the Pirates and Yankees.
The next season, Nady had Tommy John surgery and appeared in just seven games.