On Tuesday we reported that Leon Boyd received an invitation for a tryout with the Toronto Blue Jays. A second pitcher of the Dutch World Baseball Classic team is already a step further. Major League veteran Sidney Ponson agreed on a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals and is expected to arrive on Wednesday at their spring training facility in Surprise, Arizona.
The 32-year-old Ponson impressed in his two starts for the Netherlands during the WBC. Pitching in the opener of Pool D against the Dominican Republic his four-plus inning start laid the groundwork for the upsetting 3-2 victory, allowing just two runs on five hits and three base on balls. He again received the starting nod in the first match of round two against Venezuela. He pitched five strong innings, giving up two hits, two runs and a walk, while striking out three. Holland eventual lost, but Ponson make an impression with the scouts anyway.
Last year he made the Texas Rangers out of spring training and had a 4-1 record and a 3.88 ERA in nine starts, before off-the-field incidents led to his release. Ponson joined the New York Yankees and moved into the rotation as injury replacement, appearing in another 16 games (15 starts, 4-4, ERA 5.85). It was his eleventh year in the big leagues. In 284 games he has a 90-106 record with a career ERA of 4.95.
Ponson’s chances however to make the rotation in Kansas City are limited and he might is forced to start the year in Triple-A Omaha. Gil Meche, Zack Greinke and Kyle Davies are set for starting roles with the Royals. Luke Hochevar, Brian Bannister and Horacio Ramirez will battle with Ponson for the last two spots.