Walters eager to make impact in KC camp
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- In every training camp, there are pitchers on the fringes, little-noticed guys with some big league experience who are looking for a break. One of those in the Royals' camp this year is P.J. Walters, a 6-foot-4 right-hander.
He's a non-roster pitcher who has played with the Twins, Cardinals and, very briefly, the Blue Jays. Over five seasons, Walters has gotten into 40 Major League games, 24 of them starts, with a 6-10 record and a 6.28 ERA.
"I've always been a starter, but I'll do whatever they need me to do to help them," Walters said. "Obviously this is a very good pitching staff and very few spots open, but whatever spot may be where I can jump in and help 'em out, that's where I'll go."
So far, though, Walters, 28, hasn't been mentioned enough as a likely candidate for the Royals' fifth starting job.
A product of Faith Academy and the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Walters was drafted in the 11th round of 2006 by the Cardinals and spent parts of '09 and '10 in St. Louis. Just before the 2011 Trade Deadline, he went to Toronto in an eight-player swap that, among other things, also took center fielder Colby Rasmus to the Blue Jays. Then Walters signed as a free agent with the Twins and spent parts of the last two years with them.
Twice last June, he started for the Twins against the Royals and lost both times. He was rocked pretty hard in his second appearance, giving up six runs in three innings, with most damage coming via homers by Billy Butler and Mike Moustakas.
"They've always been a good-hitting team and watching them last year was interesting," Walters said. "It was a lot of fun to see them; they played hard, they've got guys diving around on defense, stealing bases, pitchers competing. It makes it fun to watch, even on the other side. Obviously you're trying to beat 'em, but it's still fun to watch when the game's played the right way."
This year, Walters would like to be part of that fun.