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Monday, November 18
Release of Perez opens door for Berroa

Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Royals waived underperforming shortstop Neifi Perez on Monday, clearing the way for Angel Berroa to take over the job next season.

Perez came to the Royals in a three-way trade from Colorado midway through the 2001 season. He hit just .236 with 37 RBI in 2002 -- his only full season in Kansas City -- and didn't make up for it in the field.

He won a Gold Glove in 2000 with Colorado but struggled in the field in Kansas City, committing 20 errors this season and 25 overall in his 1-year stint.

Perez made $4.1 million last season and would have been eligible for salary arbitration next year.

Also, Perez admitted in spring training he had lied about his age -- he was actually 28 at the time, not 26.

"The bottom line is that Neifi didn't fit in our plans for next year,'' said Royals general manager Allard Baird, announcing the move on the team's Web site. "We've said that when Angel was ready, he was going to be our shortstop. Neifi worked hard to have a good season, but he struggled early and got in a hole that he couldn't get out of.''

Berroa, 24, was an unknown in January 2001, when he was included in a three-way trade that sent popular outfielder Johnny Damon to Oakland. At the time, though, Baird called Berroa "a major part in this deal'' and "a legitimate shortstop with tremendous upside.''

Berroa, now playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic, had arthroscopic knee surgery last season but joined the Royals in September. He hit .227 with five RBIs in 20 games.

Also on Monday, the Royals added right-hander Ian Ferguson, left-hander Jimmy Gobble, infielder Alejandro Machado and catcher Mike Tonis to their 40-man roster.