Royals release DH Mike Jacobs, pitcher John Bale

The Royals got the last day of the Winter Meetings off to a fast start, releasing designated hitter Mike Jacobs and relief pitcher John Bale early Thursday morning.

The moves reduced the roster to 38 players, leaving open two spots prior to the Rule 5 draft.

Both players proved to be disappointments last season.

Jacobs, obtained from the Marlins in a trade for reliever Leo Nunez, hit 19 home runs with 61 RBIs and a .228 average after a .247/32/93 line in 2008 in the National League.

He got off to a good start in his first 36 games, batting .270 with nine homers and 23 RBIs but fell off rapidly. He began the season as the starting first baseman but quickly lost that job to Billy Butler and went into a DH role.

Bale, in his third season with the Royals, began the season on the disabled list after undergoing thyroid surgery. Reinstated on May 23, he pitched in a career-high 43 games but posted a 5.72 ERA in 28 1/3 innings with a 0-1 record and one save.

A left-handed signed by the Royals as a free agent out of Japan for the 2007 season, his stay was interrupted by injuries including shoulder and back strains and a broken hand. He was tried as a starter in 2008 but that experiment ended after he lost all three outings.

–Dick Kaegel

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