Hernandez signs with Red Sox

Hernandez signs with Red Sox

BOSTON -- In a move to deepen the Major League-ready pitching in the upper levels of the organization, the Red Sox on Friday announced the signing of former Royals right-hander Runelvys Hernandez to a contract with Triple-A Pawtucket.

Hernandez, as a non-roster player, will also be invited to Boston's Spring Training camp for a chance to make the 25-man roster when the team heads north.

With the Red Sox rotation already including Daisuke Matsuzaka, Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield and Jonathan Papelbon, Hernandez will likely battle for a long-man role in the bullpen in camp, along with Julian Tavarez, both of whom could spot-start when needed.

Released by Kansas City on Dec. 7, the 28-year-old joins the Red Sox organization after making 78 starts for Kansas City since 2002. In 2006 he was 6-10 with a 6.48 ERA in 21 starts with Kansas City and 5-6 with a 4.59 ERA in 12 games (11 starts) with Triple-A Omaha.

Hernandez made three starts at Omaha to open the season before defeating Minnesota in his 2006 Kansas City debut on April 26. He was 1-4 when optioned to Omaha on May 28 before returning to the Royals for the rest of the season on July 21.

From Aug. 10 to Sept. 1, Hernandez recorded his best stretch of the year, going 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA over five starts. That included a complete-game, 2-0 victory on Aug. 26 at Toronto. Overall, he ranked second on the Royals' staff in starts and was third in wins and innings (109 2/3).

Hernandez is 25-33 with a 5.38 ERA in his 78 career starts with Kansas City. After missing all of 2004 after undergoing ligament-transplant surgery on his right elbow in September 2003, he led the Royals with eight wins and ranked third with 159 2/3 innings, both career bests, in 2005. The right-hander was the team's Pitcher of the Month for June, going 3-1 with a 2.37 ERA in five starts.

In 2003 he was Kansas City's Opening Day starter and went on to become the Major League's first four-game winner, going 4-0 with a 1.36 ERA in April. Hernandez was on the disabled list from May 27 to July 11 with right elbow inflammation and then was sidelined for the year on Aug. 17 before having surgery. He was originally signed by Kansas City as a non-drafted free agent in January 1998.

Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.