The Kansas City Royals agreed to a minor league contract with right-hander Ricky Nolasco on Wednesday that includes an invitation to their major league camp.
The 35-year-old spent the past two seasons with the Los Angeles Angels. He went 6-15 with a 4.92 ERA a year ago. Nolasco has a reputation for being durable, going 114-118 with a 4.56 ERA across 12 seasons with the Angels, Dodgers, Marlins and Twins.
“Because he’s been through so much, I think we haven’t had to put the reins around him as much as maybe in the past,” Francona said. “I think he’s trying to look at this thing logically, also. But if hard work means anything, which it does, he’s going to be just fine.”
If Brantley can stay on the field, he could provide a huge boost for Cleveland as it tries to recover from last year’s disappointing loss to the New York Yankees in the AL Division Series. Before his recent run of injury woes, Brantley was one of the majors’ best all-around players, capable of making a key play at the plate, on the bases or in the field.
Kansas City reached a deal with him one day after placing right-hander Jesse Hahn on the 60-day disabled list with a sprained right ulnar collateral ligament. Hahn, who had Tommy John surgery in 2010, is expected to visit Dr. Neal ElAttrache for a second opinion.
Nolasco will compete for a spot in the back end of the Royals’ rotation, where the only sure spots are filled by Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy and Jason Hammel.
Michael Brantley, working his way back from ankle surgery, said, “I need to make sure that I’m 100 percent healthy when I come back.” Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images
“I think I’m getting older, and I think I’m starting to understand it more, that I need to make sure that I’m 100 percent healthy when I come back,” Brantley said Sunday. “It takes time. It’s not going to happen overnight, but put in the hard work that you need to get done, and everything comes out good in the end.”
Brantley hasn’t always had that big-picture approach as he worked his way back from an injury. Manager Terry Francona has noticed a difference this spring.