Royals near agreement to sign veteran pitcher Kip Wells

CLEVELAND | The Royals reached an agreement in principle Monday with veteran free-agent pitcher Kip Wells in a move designed primarily to bolster a beat-up bullpen.

Wells, 31, was designated for assignment last week by the Colorado Rockies after going 1-2 with a 5.27 ERA in 15 appearances. He missed 10 weeks earlier this season because of a blot-clot injury in his right hand.

Barring a last-minute snag, Wells could join the Royals as soon as tonight’s series opener against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. He is 65-93 with a 4.64 ERA in 246 games with five teams in a 10-year career.

Wells is already receiving $3.1 million this season in guaranteed salary from the Rockies. His tentative deal with the Royals is for a pro-rated share of the major-league minimum or about $90,000.

The Royals find themselves shorthanded in the bullpen because of several injuries.

The availability of lefty Ron Mahay remains uncertain after pain returned to his left foot following a brief appearance Saturday against the Yankees. Right-hander Ramon Ramirez is also believed to be battling an unspecified minor injury.

Wells pitched primarily as a starter until this season. As such, he could also serve a possible replacement for any of the club’s struggling starting pitchers.

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