SPRINGDALE, AR - The Naturals could be welcoming in both new and familiar faces in 2014, and will say goodbye to yet another recognizable one.
The Kansas City Royals, the Naturals parent-club, announced a number of transactions over the weekend, some with the possibility of affecting that Naturals roster in 2014. The Club announced the re-signing of OF Edinson Rincon and the acquisition of RHP Wilking Rodriguez.
Baseball America reported that Naturals INF Rey Navarro signed with the Cincinnati Reds as a Minor League Free Agent last week.
Rincon, 23, re-signs with the Royals after being claimed off waivers by the Organization on June 7th. After a knee injury sidelined the former San Antonio Mission during Spring Training with the San Diego Padres, the Dominican-born Rincon joined Northwest Arkansas in late August and hit .154 in 13 games. In 7 seasons, Rincon has compiled a .285 batting average.
Rodriguez, 23, was signed by the Tampa Bay Rays Organization as a 17-year-old and joins the Royals Organization after seven seasons with Tampa Bay. The Venezuelan-born right-hander has never pitched above the Class-A Advanced level and is 9-27 with a 3.90 ERA in 88 career appearances including 64 starts. Sidelined for most of 2013 while recovering from shoulder injury, Rodriguez threw 9 scoreless innings in 8 August appearances.
Originally acquired in a 2010 trade by Kansas City and the Arizona Diamondbacks, Rey Navarro, leaves behind 4½ years in the Royals Organization including the bulk of three seasons with the Naturals. The former 3rd Round Selection by Arizona in the 2007 First Year Player Draft leaves Northwest Arkansas in the top five of most Naturals career batting records. Navarro is second all-time in franchise games played (283), at-bats (1,034), and ranks third in runs (138), hits (277), doubles (43), and RBI (115). During his tenure, the native of Caguas, Puerto Rico was penciled in all over Brian Poldberg's lineup card and played shortstop, second base, and third base.
The Seventh Season of Naturals Baseball begins Thursday, April 3, 2014 in Frisco, TX. The team opens at Arvest Ballpark on Thursday April 10, 2014 against the same Frisco Rough Riders.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League Affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The Naturals play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, AR. For more information including statistics, ticket options, and more, please visit NWANaturals.com, and follow us on Twitter @NWANaturals and Facebook.com/Naturals.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.