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Royals reach agreement with former Indiana State pitcher

  • Kansas City Star
  • Published Friday, June 21, 2013, at 6:41 p.m.

— Signed Friday. Surgery scheduled for Monday. And then left-hander Sean Manaea can begin working to recapture the form that prompted a $3.55 million investment from the Royals.

“I have a torn labrum in my (right) hip,” Manaea said. “They say the recovery time is only three or four months. So it shouldn’t take that long. I’m trying to get things going and be ready for spring training.”

The Royals reached agreement Friday with Manaea, whom they selected earlier this month with the 34th overall pick in the draft. He projected as a potential No. 1 overall pick before his hip injury.

“It’s relatively minor and routine — as routine as routine surgeries can be,” general manager Dayton Moore said. “Dr. (Marc) Philippon is someone we’ve had a lot of success with. Our people feel very secure in the outcome.”

Philippon performed the same procedure in April 2009 on left fielder Alex Gordon. Royals officials say Manaea could begin playing catch this fall but isn’t likely to get on a mound before spring training.

Manaea’s signing bonus is the largest ever given to a player chosen in the supplemental round and is a little higher than the slotted bonus for the sixth overall player in draft.

“One of the things that really solidified our judgement in Sean,” Moore said, “is the way he persevered this spring through the ups and downs.

“Really, to his credit, he tried to pitch through this injury because of the teammate he is and the high expectations he has for himself. We’re glad he fell to us, and that we were able to get a deal done.”

Manaea, 6 feet 5 and 215 pounds, suffered the hip injury in mid-March after adjusting his delivery to compensate for a minor ankle injury.

“I feel like I had higher expectations for myself,” he said. “I didn’t really achieve those. It was kind of rough to go through this injury right now — before the draft. Battling the weather and the injury was kind of rough.”

Manaea, 21, still managed to go 5-4 with a 1.47 ERA in 13 starts at Indiana State while striking out 93 in 731/3 innings.

“Sean had a heck of a year,” scouting director Lonnie Goldberg said. “He was third in country in strikeouts per nine innings. He set and Indiana State record for lowest ERA. So he had a great year. Opponents hit .190 off him.

“If you take that and couple it to what we saw (last summer) in the Cape (Cod League) — where he was the Cape pitcher of the year and player of the year — you can see why he was high up on our board coming into the year.”

Manaea’s bonus was more than double of the $1.623 million slot for the 34th selection and is the second-highest amount every given to a player chosen outside of the first round.

Outfielder Josh Bell received $5 million as Pittsburgh’s second-round pick in 2010.

The Royals positioned themselves for Manaea by reaching below-slot deals with several players, including their first-round pick, shortstop Hunter Dozier, whose $2.2 million bonus was $937,800 under the slotted amount. Even so, the Manaea bonus means the Royals have already exceeded their total assigned pool for all picks through the 10th round by $3,700 with their eighth-round pick, North Carolina first baseman Cody Stubbs, still unsigned.

Stubbs is still competing in the College World Series. The slotted bonus for his spot is $157,200.

Major League Baseball imposes penalties (fines and loss of future picks) for clubs that exceed their pool. The penalty exceed that pool by up to 5 percent, which is where the Royals fall, is a 75 percent tax on the overage.

If Stubbs signs for the slotted amount, the Royals would pay $120,675 in fines. If he signs a below-slot deal, that fine would be accordingly reduced.

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