Mike Morin grew up in Overland Park, starred on the mound at Shawnee Mission South High School and was drafted by the Royals in 2009. Eight years later, he may finally play for his hometown team.
The Royals claimed Morin, a right-handed reliever, off waivers this week, seven days after he was designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Angels. To create room on their 40-man roster, the Royals cut ties with left-hander Onelki Garcia.
Morin has spent parts of the last four seasons in the Angels bullpen, posting a 4.49 ERA and striking out 154 in 164 1/3 career innings. He logged a 6.91 ERA in 14 1/3 big-league innings this year, spending much of the season at Class AAA Salt Lake.
Morin’s best season came in his rookie campaign in 2014. He put up a 2.90 ERA in 59 innings across 60 appearances and pitched against the Royals in the American League Division Series. But he’s been unable to match that performance over the last three years.
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A graduate of SM South, Morin, 26, was drafted by the Royals in the 40th round of the 2009 draft. The selection was, in part, a nod to a local kid. Morin was set to attend the University of North Carolina, where he excelled as a closer. He was drafted by the Angels in the 13th round of the 2012 draft. He made his major-league debut less than two years later on April 30, 2014.
Garcia, meanwhile, was designated for assignment after allowing nine earned runs in six innings across two appearances. A 28-year-old native of Cuba, Garcia made his first appearance in the major leagues in four years on Aug. 27, allowing five runs in 5 2/3 innings in a 12-0 defeat to Cleveland. He made his only start on Sept. 2, recording just one out in a 17-0 loss to Minnesota. Garcia spent most of the year at Class AAA Omaha, where he posted a 5.04 ERA in 20 appearances.