Royals trade Jeffress to Toronto and Hottovy to Texas

The Royals cleaned up two personnel decisions Thursday afternoon by trading a pair of relievers whom they removed last week from their 40-man roster.

Lefty Tommy Hottovy is heading to Texas for a player to be named later and cash considerations, while right-hander Jeremy Jeffress is going to Toronto for cash considerations.

Both pitchers spent most of last season in the minors and were designated last Friday for assignment, which meant the Royals had 10 days to trade, release or send them through waivers.

“I hope it’s going to be good,” Jeffress said. “I remember the last time – I couldn’t go to Toronto (in June) because I didn’t have my passport. I’ve got my passport now.”

Hottovy, 31, is a Kansas City native who spent one year in the Royals’ organization after signing last November as a minor-league free agent following eight seasons in the Boston system.

“I love the Royals’ organization,” he said. “I grew up here. It was just such an honor to be part of this organization. I just love the city. It’s disappointing to be leaving that. But when one door closes, another one opens. I just look at this as an opportunity.”

The Royals have yet to reach a resolution on outfielder Jason Bourgeois, who was also designated last Friday for assignment. Bourgeois, 30, batted .258 in 30 games for the Royals and .243 in 60 games at Class AAA Omaha.

Hottovy and Jeffress, 25, each are likely to get greater opportunities with their new teams after being squeezed out in the Royals’ deep bullpen.

“With the Royals,” Hottovy said, “you look at who they have in the bullpen, and the way those guys pitched all year, they’re pretty loaded. It’s always exciting when you have a new opportunity because it’s like a fresh start.”

Jeffress said the Blue Jays have already told him that he has a job to lose.

“I’m out of options,” he said. “They traded for me when they knew I was out of options. So they’re looking for good things.”

Hottovy is a lefty specialist who was 0-0 with a 2.89 ERA in nine big-league games. He also was 2-2 with seven saves and a 2.52 ERA in 41 appearances at Omaha.

The Royals obtained Jeffress on Dec. 19, 2010 as part of the six-player swap that sent former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke to Milwaukee. The Royals also obtained shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and pitcher Jake Odorizzi in the deal.

Jeffress was 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA in 13 big-league games in addition to going 5-4 and 4.85 in 38 minor-league appearances – 37 at Omaha and one at Class AA Northwest Arkansas.