Royals sign 3 veterans to Minor League contracts

Barmes, Duensing, Ohlendorf also receive invitations to camp

Royals sign 3 veterans to Minor League contracts

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals' scouting department, always on the prowl for low-risk-high-reward projects, was back at it on Thursday, signing veterans Clint Barmes, Brian Duensing and Ross Ohlendorf to Minor League deals with Spring Training invites.

Last year, the Royals scored with the low-key signings of Ryan Madson and Joe Blanton.

Now, Duensing, a left-hander, and Ohlendorf, a right-hander, could be this year's surprises.

Duensing, 32, primarily is a fastball-slider pitcher who has a 41-37 record with a 4.13 ERA across his seven-year career, all with the Twins. Duensing can make up to $2.6 million if he spends all season with the Royals, while Barmes and Duensing can opt out on March 29 and Ohlendorf on March 20, according to an MLB.com source.

Duensing, a college teammate of Alex Gordon's at Nebraska, likely will compete with left-hander Brian Flynn for the lefty role in the bullpen. Tim Collins, coming off Tommy John surgery, likely won't be available until early May.

Ohlendorf, 33, missed all of 2014 due to a right lumbar injury. He came back with the Rangers last season and went 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA.

Reports indicate Ohlendorf's fastball rose back to the mid-90s last season. He is expected to compete for a bullpen spot as well.

Barmes, 36, batted .232 in 98 games with the Padres last season and is a lifetime .245 hitter over his 13-year career.

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.