Outfielder Willy Taveras is itching to get back to the major leagues, and hell have an opportunity to show his wares to the Royals.
By PETE GRATHOFF
The Kansas City Star
On Tuesday, the Royals signed Taveras and pitchers Dan Wheeler and George Sherrill to minor-league contracts.
Taveras, who turns 31 on Christmas Day, last played in the majors with the Washington Nationals in 2010, when he appeared in 27 games and hit .200 with four RBIs.
I just need a chance to get back in baseball, Taveras told MLB.com in September. Thats what I love; I love to play baseball. It hurt to watch the games on TV. I definitely want a chance to get back to baseball and go from there.
Taveras is currently playing for Yaquis de Obregon in the Mexican Pacific League, where he is batting .280 with 12 doubles, two home runs, 17 RBIs and a .733 OPS in 39 games.
In seven seasons in the majors, Taveras batted .274 with a .647 OPS and 195 stolen bases in 670 games with the Astros, Rockies, Nationals and Reds.
Taveras played in two World Series, with the Astros (2005) and Rockies (2007).
In 2005, Taveras finished second in rookie of the year voting when he batted .291 with 34 stolen bases. After the 2006 season, he was traded to the Rockies. In Denver, Taveras led the National League in stolen bases in 2008 with 68. He also was with the Reds (2009).
Taveras spent 2011 at the Rockies Class AAA affiliate, but wasnt signed by a major-league team this year.
Wheeler, a reliever who turned 35 Monday, is 25-43 with a 3.98 ERA in 589 appearances in a 13-year career for the Rays (1999-2001, 2007-10), Mets (2003-04), Astros (2004-07), Red Sox (2011) and Indians (2012).
In 2005, Wheeler pitched in the World Series with Houston (and Taveras), and was with the Rays (and new Royal James Shields) in the 2008 World Series with the Rays. Wheeler has appeared in 21 playoff games in his career.
This past season, Wheeler was 0-0 with an 8.76 ERA in 12 games with Cleveland before being sent to Class AAA.
His best stretch may have come from 2008 to 2010, when Wheeler was 11-15 with a 3.24 ERA with the Rays, striking out 7.5 batters per nine innings with a 0.975 WHIP.
Sherrill, 35, was a 2008 All-Star reliever with the Orioles. He has held left-handers to a .186 average during his career, in which he has gone 19-17 with a 3.77 ERA and a 1.338 WHIP in 442 games with the Mariners (2004-07, 2012), Orioles (2008-09), Dodgers (2009-10) and Braves (2011).
In 2008-09, he had 52 saves for the Orioles before being traded in 2009 to the Dodgers for the stretch run. He pitched for LA in the playoffs that year.
Sherrill pitched in two games for the Mariners this year, giving up four runs in 11/3 innings before having Tommy John surgery.
The last time I saw an X-ray of my elbow, the bone looked like dog food, Sherrill told reporters in spring training.
In 2011, he didnt pitch in September for the Braves because of inflammation in his elbow. He finished that year 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA with a 1.250 WHIP.
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