Royals

Royals add starting pitching depth with signing of right-hander Yohan Pino

Yohan Pino
Yohan Pino

The Royals have signed pitcher Yohan Pino, who went 2-5 as a starter for the Twins last season, to a free-agent contract. Terms were not disclosed.

Pino, 30, a right-hander, made his major-league debut in 2014 and posted a 5.07 ERA in 11 starts. He walked 14 and recorded 50 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings.

“We like his ability to throw strikes,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. “He’s a fly-ball pitcher, so that fits our defense well.”

Moore said Pino could be a candidate as a fifth starter or long reliever.

“He gives the organization depth,” Moore said.

Pino went 10-2 for Class AAA Rochester last season, holding opponents to a .180 batting average. He was signed by the Twins in 2004 and in 155 minor-league starts compiled an 84-57 record. He also pitched in the Indians, Blue Jays and Reds organizations.

To make room for Pino on the 40-man roster, the Royals designated right-handed pitcher Casey Coleman for assignment.

Acquiring starting pitching was a priority for the Royals after their World Series run. The club has maintained contact with James Shields, but the chance of a reunion appears slim.

With Jon Lester’s six-year, $155 million signing with the Cubs on Monday, Max Scherzer and Shields are the top two starting pitchers on the free-agent market who remained unsigned.

Last week, the Royals agreed to terms with designated hitter Kendrys Morales on a two-year deal worth $17 million, but that acquisition hasn’t been officially announced.

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BlairKerkhoff.

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