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Left-handed reliever Richard Lovelady, delivering a pitch in August, was cut loose Tuesday by the Kansas City Royals. Tom Gannam AP
A former 10th-round draft pick who was at one time a potential back-end of the bullpen option, left-handed relief pitcher Richard Lovelady saw his season end with a UCL sprain and Tommy John surgery.
On Tuesday, the Royals non-tendered Lovelady, who had surgery in late September, prior to the Major League Baseball deadline to tender contracts to players on the 40-man roster. Lovelady rejoined the organization on Wednesday, signing a minor-league contract, along with outfielder JaCoby Jones.
The rest of the club’s seven arbitration eligible players were tendered contracts, though salary arbitration remains a possibility if they do not agree to terms.
In 46 appearances in the majors during 2019-21, Lovelady posted a 2-3 record with a 5.62 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and a .287 opponents’ batting average.
His best results at the big-league level came this past season when he went 2-0 with a 3.48 ERA in 20 appearances (20 2/3 innings), 23 strikeouts, a 1.06 WHIP and a .211 opponents’ batting average.
The move also clears a spot on the club’s 40-man roster. Entering the week, the Royals’ roster was at full capacity following the additions of six minor-league prospects on Nov. 19.
Pitchers Jonathan Bowlan, Collin Snider and Nathan Webb as well as catcher MJ Melendez, shortstop Maikel García and first baseman Nick Pratto were added to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft.
The roster now has an open spot, which the Royals would need if acquiring a player via trade or signing a player to a major-league contract.
The Royals’ arbitration-eligible players are newly minted Gold Glove outfielder Andrew Benintendi, starting pitcher Brad Keller, shortstop Adalberto Mondesi, second baseman/shortstop Nicky Lopez, first baseman/outfielder Ryan O’Hearn, bullpen stalwart Scott Barlow and backup catcher Cam Gallagher.
Infielder/outfielders Whit Merrifield and Hunter Dozier would be in their last year of arbitration, but both previously signed contract extensions that bought out their arbitration rights.
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Merrifield is under contract through 2022 and his deal includes a club option for 2023. Dozier remains under contract through 2024, and his deal includes a club option for 2025.