Pitcher Clay Buchholz, Royals finalize minor league contract

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Right-hander Clay Buchholz is the Kansas City Royals’ latest reclamation pitching project.

The two-time All-Star and the Royals have finalized a minor league contract on Tuesday, and he would get a $1.5 million, one-year deal if added to the 40-man roster. The 32-year-old could earn $250,000 in performance bonuses: $25,000 per start from 10-19.

Ryan Madson and Joe Blanton are among the pitchers who revived their careers with the Royals.

“It’s just depth,” manager Ned Yost said. “He pitched seven innings last year. He could bounce back like like Madson and Blanton did, two big bounce-back guys. We don’t know. We’ll just see how it plays out.”

Drafted by Boston with the 42nd overall pick in 2006, Buchholz made his debut in August 2007 and pitched a no-hitter against Baltimore in his second big league appearance. He was 81-61 in 10 seasons with the Red Sox and made four starts without a decision in the 2013 postseason as Boston won its third World Series title in a decade.

Buchholz was traded to Philadelphia in December 2016 for minor league infielder Josh Tobias, made two starts for the Phillies and needed surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right forearm.

“I’ve been throwing bullpens the last two months,” Buchholz said. “The only thing I haven’t done is throw live to hitters. The next step is just getting into the ups and downs with hitters and go from there. I don’t think it will take me that long. The hitters will tell me when I start throwing to them. I’ve built up some strength for the most part.

“Obviously when you have something surgically repaired, it’s all in the back of your head if you want to let it go or not let it go. I think I’m over that hump already. Getting into a game scenario, the adrenaline is going to be a little bit higher.”

Buchholz was 0-1 with a 12.27 ERA in 7 1/3 innings for the Phillies last season, when he made $13.5 million in the second option year of a contract he signed with Boston that paid him $56.75 million from 2011-17.

“Getting hurt, having surgery and then missing the season, that was probably the first low,” Buchholz said. “Then the next one was the offseason and how free agency went. It was different than I envisioned it going, but that’s all in the past now. Now there’s an opportunity in front of me, I’m going to try to take advantage of it.”

Since spring training opened, the Royals have signed first baseman Lucas Duda, outfielder Jon Jay, third basemen Mike Moustakas and right-handed reliever Justin Grimm to major league contracts and outfielder Michael Saunders, right-hander Ricky Nolasco and Buchholz to minor league deals.

“I know when spring training starts we’re probably going to add guys to our roster to help us,” Yost said.


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