11/24/09 11:44 AM ET
Bullington agrees to contract with Royals
Right-hander was top Draft pick in 2002
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
Bullington, the nation's No. 1 Draft pick in 2002, agreed to a Minor League contract with the Royals on Tuesday.
Actually, the Royals' interest in Bullington goes back to 1999, when they picked him in the 37th round out of Madison (Ind.) High School after a 32-3 career. He didn't sign with the Royals and instead played at Ball State University. Then, after an 11-3 season, he was the top choice (by Pittsburgh) in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft.
Bullington has had little success in the Major Leagues, with a 0-5 record and 5.08 ERA in a total of 13 games (five starts) for Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Toronto. He last pitched in the Majors in April, when he made four relief appearances with a 3.00 ERA for six innings for the Blue Jays.
The 6-foot-4 right-hander, 29, worked strictly in relief for Triple-A Las Vegas last season, with a 3-1 record, three saves and a 3.52 ERA. In six Minor League seasons, he has a 53-36 record and 3.82 ERA in 148 games, including 117 starts.
Bullington made his Major League debut with the Pirates on Sept. 18, 2005, entering the game with the bases loaded and two outs. He got Cincinnati's Ryan Freel to ground out but gave up two runs in his next inning, then sat out the rest of the season with a sore shoulder before undergoing surgery in October. He didn't get back to the Majors until 2007.
Bullington joins two other ex-Major League pitchers recently signed to Minor League deals from outside the organization, right-handers Jorge Campillo and Brad Thompson. It's anticipated that all three will be invited to Spring Training.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.