Royals drop long-time reliever Jimmy Gobble

Jimmy Gobble won’t be the Royals’ left-handed specialist out of the bullpen this year after all.

The Royals requested unconditional release waivers on Gobble on Wednesday morning.

The club also announced that right-handed pitcher Anthony Lerew was signed to a Minor League contract with an invitation to the Major League camp.

Lerew pitched in parts of three seasons, 2005-07, for the Atlanta Braves with a 0-2 record and 8.31 ERA in 11 appearances (three starts). Last season he pitched in 14 Minor League games.

Gobble, 27, has spent his entire career in the Royals organization since he was a supplemental first-round selection (43rd overall) in the 1999 draft.

After having his best season in 2007, when he pitched in 74 games and had a 3.02 ERA and 4-1 record, Gobble slipped badly last year.

His ERA soared to 8.81, he appeared in just 39 games and lost both of his decisions. He also was bothered by lower back tightness which put him on the disabled list from July 22 to Sept. 2.

But he held left-handed batters to a .200 (13-for-65) average and indications were that he’d retain his role as a weapon against lefties this season.

Gobble began his career with the Royals as a starter and had a 9-8 record in 2004. But he was switched to the bullpen in 2005.

In 236 games including 43 starts for the Royals, he had a 22-23 record and 5.23 ERA with four saves.

–Dick Kaegel

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