Veteran utility infielder Wilson Betemit is the latest ex-Atlanta player to find refuge with the Royals after reaching agreement on a minor-league contract.
Betemit, 28, spent 9½ seasons in the Braves’ organization before a July 2006 trade sent him to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Subsequent trades sent him to the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox.
Reports of the agreement surfaced Wednesday, but the Royals declined to confirm the deal until Thursday morning.
Betemit, a switch-hitter, split time last season in the White Sox’s organization. He batted .200 in 20 games for the big-league club and .241 in 72 games for Class AAA Charlotte.
He has a .258 average and .324 on-base percentage in 516 career games over parts of seven big-league seasons. His batted .305 in 115 games in 2005 for the Braves and set career highs in 2006 with 18 homers and 56 RBIs in 143 games while splitting time with the Braves and Dodgers.
Betemit spent most of the last two seasons playing third base and first base but also has experience at second base and shortstop. DiNardo, Yabuta opt out
Lefty starter Lenny DiNardo and righty reliever Yasuhiko Yabuta chose to become free agents rather than accept outright assignments to Class AAA Omaha after clearing waivers.
DiNardo, 30, was 0-3 with a 10.13 ERA in five starts last season after arriving in September from Omaha, where he was 10-5 and 3.32 in 29 games. He was chosen as Omaha’s pitcher of the year and honored as the top lefty in the Pacific Coast League.
Yabuta, 36, spent most of the last two seasons at Omaha after signing a two-year, $6 million deal in November 2007 following a 12-year career in Japan. He was 2-1 with a 13.50 ERA last season for the Royals in 12 games.
The Royals recently paid $500,000 to void a $4 million option in Yabuta’s contract for 2010. He was 3-4 with a 7.14 ERA in 43 big-league games over the last two seasons.
DiNardo signed last December with the Royals as a minor-league free agent after spending time in Mets, Red Sox and A’s organizations in a nine-year professional career. He is 10-18 with a 5.36 ERA in 94 major-league games and 33-32 and 3.73 in 138 minor-league games.
Regional scouting supervisor
Former outfielder Mitch Webster, who played 13 seasons with six clubs, is the Royals’ new Midwest Regional scouting director. He arrives after spending the last 14 years in the Dodgers’ organization as a minor-league coach and scout.
Webster, 50, played in the majors from 1983-95 and batted .263 with 70 homers and 342 RBIs in 1,265 games for the Blue Jays, Expos, Cubs, Indians, Pirates and Dodgers. He was born in Larned, Kan., and currently resides in Kansas City with his wife and two daughters.
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