Hernandez Starts Over Again With Royals

K.C. Is Righthander's Fifth Organization

KANSAS CITY  Gaby Hernandez began his professional career as a blue-chip prospect after the Mets drafted him in the third round out of Miami Belen Jesuit High in 2004.

Six years later, the 23-year-old Hernandez has been traded twice and released twice. The Royals became Hernandez's third organization this year when they picked him up after the Red Sox waived him in March.

"I've been with five different organizations in six years. I might have set a record," said Hernandez, who began the season with Triple-A Omaha.

When he got the call this spring to fly from Fort Myers, Fla. to Surprise, Ariz., to join the Royals in spring training, he was limping with an abscess in his groin area that needed to be removed before joining his new team.

Hernandez has the tools to pitch in the majors—a 90-93 mph fastball with a hard slider. For Hernandez to take that next step and be successful, he needs better command and fewer walks.

Hernandez reached Triple-A with the Marlins in 2008, going 2-8, 7.24, before being sent down and ultimately traded to the Mariners for lefthander Arthur Rhodes. Hernandez spent last season with Triple-A Tacoma, going 10-9, 5.23 with 98 strikeouts and 48 walks in 146 innings.

He rebounded from a 3-7, 5.64 first half to finish the season 7-2, 4.71. But the Mariners still released him in the offseason.

"I climbed up pretty fast. I got to Triple-A at 21," Hernandez said of his time with Albuquerque. "I had a rough time there. Then I got sent down and then I got traded.

"I had a better year last year, so hopefully this year I can keep moving forward."


• High Class A Wilmington lefthander Mike Montgomery's second outing of the season proved to be one to remember as heft left some scouts in attendance at Kinston wondering if they had ever seen a minor leaguer pitch any better, BA's J.J. Cooper reported. Montgomery carried a perfect game into the seventh, allowed just two hard-hit balls all night, didn't walk a batter (he fell behind 3-1 in the count only once) and struck out a career-high 13.
"It's hard to top that," Wilmington pitching coach Steve Luebber said. "He had three well-above-average pitches."

• The Royals released righthanders Matt Kniginyzky, who had surgery in 2006 for a torn labrum, and James Godin, a 2006 fifth-round pick out of Old Dominion.