Chen headlines crop of Spring invitees

Chen headlines crop of Spring invitees

KANSAS CITY -- Left-hander Bruce Chen will get another shot with the Royals.

Chen, a free agent, agreed to a Minor League contract with the Royals and was among the 16 non-roster players invited to Major League Spring Training, the Royals announced on Friday.

Last season Chen, 32, returned to the Majors from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, joining the Royals after compiling a 4-2 record and 3.40 ERA in 14 games for Triple-A Omaha. With Kansas City, he pitched in 17 games (nine starts), and was 1-6 with a 5.78 ERA.

Chen, who has started 150 games in a 10-team Major League career, is likely to figure in the Royals' search for a left-handed starter or compete for a middle-relief role.

Six other pitchers were invited to Spring Training: Left-hander Adam Bostick and right-handers Bryan Bullington, Jorge Campillo, Francisco Rosario, Josh Rupe and Brad Thompson.

Other non-roster players invited were catchers Edwin Bellorin, Cody Clark, Steve Lerud and Vance Wilson; infielders Wilson Betemit, Irving Falu and Ernesto Mejia, and outfielders Buck Coats and Scott Thorman.

The Royals also announced they re-signed right-handed pitcher Devon Lowery to a Minor League contract. Once a top prospect that appeared in five games with the 2008 Royals, he missed all of last season because of a shoulder injury.

Agreements with Bostick, Rosario, Wilson and Mejia were also announced on Friday although Wilson, a veteran catcher, was previously listed as agreeing to terms on Nov. 20.

Bostick, 26, spent the last three years in the Mets' system as a reliever. Last season, dividing time between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Buffalo, he was 3-3 with a 3.05 ERA in 39 games.

Rosario, 29, was in the Majors with the Blue Jays in 2006 and the Phillies in 2007, compiling a 1-5 record and 6.02 ERA in 40 games (one start). He did not pitch last season.

Mejia, 24, is a 6-6 first baseman from Venezuela who knocked 21 homers and led the Minors with 47 doubles for Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach of the Braves' organization in 2008. A right-handed batter, he was limited to 36 games last year by injuries.

Wilson, 36, is a seven-year Major Leaguer who is continuing a comeback from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. Last year for the Royals' Double-A club at Northwest Arkansas, he batted .270 with 10 homers in 59 games.

The other non-roster invitees were signed earlier this offseason.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.