Cueto appreciates regal welcome from Royals

Cueto appreciates regal welcome from Royals

CLEVELAND -- When newly acquired right-hander Johnny Cueto drove here from Cincinnati on Tuesday morning and arrived at the Royals' team hotel, there was a welcoming committee of players and staffers waiting for him.

And that clearly impressed Cueto, who was given a crown to wear, and he quickly tweeted out a picture of that image.

"I was really happy with the way the club welcomed me," he said through interpreter Pedro Grifol. "Someone in the lobby gave [the crown] to me."

A few hours later, Cueto arrived at Progressive Field and it was business as usual. He donned his Royals pregame uniform and headed for the field where he performed his daily routine of running the stadium steps.

"I'm just very happy and very proud to be part of this club," Cueto said.

A part of Cueto, acquired on Sunday from the Reds for pitchers Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed, was simply happy to be settled with a new team after hearing rumors for weeks.

"I am just happy that it is all over," he said. "There were times I continued to wonder where I would end up. But now I'm here and anxious to get to work."

That his new club is the Royals is a blessing, he said.

"I'm happy with the club," he said. "I have some friends here. I'm familiar with the staff."

Cueto is good friends with Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez -- they were teammates for four years in Cincinnati -- and they spoke and texted often in the last week.

"I've talked to him a few times, yes," Cueto said. "I talked to him when the trade was happening and we were hoping it would happen."

Cueto will wear No. 47, which he requested from Franklin Morales and received. We still don't know the acquisition cost of that.

"Not yet," Cueto said, smiling. "But we will get together on something."

Meanwhile, Cueto will prepare to make his first start for his new team on Friday in Toronto. He pitched against the Royals earlier this season and was taken by the team's various ways to score. The Royals beat him, 3-0.

"When I went through the scouting reports, I saw all that versatility," he said. "I knew it would be work for me that day."

And now, Cueto gets that offensive versatility working for him, along with perhaps the best defense in baseball.

"I still have to make pitches," he said. "If I do that, the defense will play. I still have to work."

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.