Royals release six minor leaguers

The Kansas City Royals on Wednesday released six minor league players: outfielder Rene Oriental, catcher Brian Peterson, and pitchers Claudio Bavera, Tyler Gatrell, Matt Morizio, and James Thompson. All six players are now free to sign with other clubs.

Rene Oriental originally signed with the Royals in 2001, when he was the recipient of the club's first-ever six-figure bonus to an international free agent. Unfortunately, the young outfielder got caught up in a marriage-for-visa scandal, and his visa to work in the United States was cancelled. The visa was reinstated last year, however, and the Royals gave him another chance. The 26-year-old played in 104 games between Burlington and Wilmington in 2010, hitting a combined .245/.295/.354 with seven home runs and 49 RBIs in 384 at bats.

Brian Peterson signed a minor league contract with the Royals in December. The 32-year-old backstop has played 11 seasons in professional baseball, most recently with the independent league Shreveport-Bossier Captains.

Claudio Bavera was the Royals' 33rd round selection in the 2009 draft. The 23-year-old southpaw was 2-4 last season for the Burlington Royals while compiling a 4.50 ERA. In 37 career relief appearances, Bavera logged four saves and a 3.13 ERA.

Tyler Gatrell signed as an undrafted free agent in 2010. The 22-year-old reliever was sensational for the Arizona Royals last season, fanning 40 batters in 21.0 innings while posting a 1.29 ERA with 12 saves. His dominance, however, was more a function of his age and moxie than his stuff, which didn't project well at higher levels.

After being selected by the Royals in the 17th round of the 2006 draft, Matt Morizio spent his first four years in the system as a catcher. He struggled mightily with his bat, however, and the Royals gave him a shot as a relief pitcher in 2010. The 27-year-old split the 2010 campaign between Idaho Falls and Burlington (Ia.), posting a combined 2-3 record and a 3.93 ERA in 21 appearances.

James Thompson, the Royals' 38th round selection in the 2008 draft, posted solid numbers during his first two seasons as a professional, including a 2.71 ERA in 44 appearances for the Burlington Bees in 2009. Unfortunately, the hard-throwing right-hander got beat up in the Carolina League in 2010, where he posted a bloated 8.24 ERA over 39.1 innings of work.

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