The Royals signed Jeff Suppan to a minor league deal, reports MLB.com's Dick Kaegel. The 36-year-old righty will report to Triple-A Omaha. Suppan was a workhorse for the 1999-2002 Royals, averaging 33 starts per year. He later moved on to the Pirates, Red Sox, Cardinals, and Brewers, most recently parting ways with the Giants last week after signing a minor league deal.
Suppan was drafted by the Red Sox in '93, joining the Diamondbacks in '97 as the third overall pick in the expansion draft. He was dealt to the Royals late in the '98 season as part of a three-way trade, and by 2000 he earned the Opening Day nod. Though he earned a temporary bullpen demotion in July of that year, Suppan was still named the team's pitcher of the year after the season. He also snagged a two-year deal and the Opening Day assignments in '01 and '02. The Royals non-tendered Suppan after the '02 season.
More recently, Suppan posted a 5.06 ERA, 4.5 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 1.2 HR/9, and 40.3% groundball rate for the Brewers and Cardinals in 2010. Milwaukee released him in June of last year with about $10MM remaining on a contract signed in December of '06. With serious rotation uncertainty for 2011, the Royals are a good fit for Suppan as he looks for big league starts.