<
>

Appier will start Friday against Devil Rays

CHICAGO -- Even when the Kansas City Royals get some good news, there's an injury lurking somewhere to spoil it.

The AL Central-leading Royals reached a deal with former ace
Kevin Appier on Wednesday, only to lose outfielder Michael Tucker with a broken right leg.

"Getting Appier is good for our team,'' first baseman Ken
Harvey said. "We need some starting pitchers.''

Actually, the Royals could use warm bodies of all sorts these
days. Tucker will miss 6-to-8 weeks with what was initially thought
to be a bruise, and starting first baseman Mike Sweeney has been on
the disabled list since June. Infielder Mendy Lopez also has been
out since June.

But the pitching staff has been hit the hardest. Miguel Asencio
has been out since May, and Jose Lima went on the DL weekend with a
strained groin. Kyle Snyder went back on the disabled list
Wednesday with shoulder problems.

"Our starting pitchers are young, that means we're looking for
some help,'' manager Tony Pena said. "I think we're going to be
OK.''

Appier was released by the Angels last week, even though Anaheim
still owed him more than $15.6 million. The Royals will pay less
than $100,000 for the right-hander this year, and Anaheim also will
be responsible for his $12 million salary next year.

The 35-year-old Appier pitched for the Royals from 1989-99. The
ninth overall pick in the 1987 amateur draft, he soon became a
mainstay in Kansas City's rotation and was 114-89 with the Royals.

"Obviously, he's a veteran, a guy with playoff experience,''
assistant general manager Muzzy Jackson said. "A guy that's going
to be able to stop a losing streak for you. He's going to be able
to give you innings. He's a battle-tested warrior. He'll go out and
take the ball for you and, on that day, you know you've got a
chance to win that game.''

The Royals lost 4-3 to Chicago on Wednesday, cutting their lead
in the AL Central to just one game over the White Sox. While
Chicago has gone 15-5 since the All-Star break, trimming six games
off Kansas City's division lead, the Royals are 9-11.

And the injuries haven't helped.

But even if the team was healthy, Jackson said they still likely
would have pursued Appier.

"He's a guy we like,'' Jackson said. "We like what he brought
to the team for a long time. He's a former Royal and we want him.
He's a guy that we would pursue, either way.''

Appier was 14-12 with a 3.92 ERA for Anaheim last season,
winning a World Series ring. But he struggled to a 7-7 record with
a 5.63 ERA in 19 starts this year while pitching with a partial
tear in his elbow and a strained right forearm that put him on the
disabled list.

In his last outing, Appier threw 43 pitches and didn't make it
out of the first inning against the New York Yankees. He gave up
four runs and five hits while getting only two outs.

The next day, July 30, the Angels placed him on waivers for the
purpose of giving him his unconditional release.

Appier is 168-134 lifetime with a 3.72 ERA. His best season was
1993, when he went 18-8 with an AL-leading 2.56 ERA and finished
third in voting for the Cy Young Award.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.