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Royals sign speedy outfielder Taveras

Willy Taveras wanted nothing more than to get back to the Majors, and now he has his chance.

Still a couple of weeks shy of turning 31, the speedy outfielder has an invite to Major League Spring Training and a Minor League deal with the Royals, the team confirmed on Tuesday.

Taveras last played in the bigs briefly in 2010, with the Nationals. He fell through the cracks in 2012, after the agency that used to represent him fell apart.

In 2011, Taveras hit .302 with a .336 on-base percentage in 97 games for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, the Rockies' Triple-A affiliate, but he didn't get a callup -- or any kind of opportunity -- the next year.

"I just need a chance to get back in baseball," Taveras said in September. "That's what I love; I love to play baseball. It hurt to watch the games on TV. I definitely want a chance to get back to baseball and go from there."

As a member of the Astros in 2007, Taveras was the Majors' stolen-base leader with 68. Injuries and a low OBP took their toll in his last couple of seasons in the bigs -- '09 with Cincinnati and '10 with Washington. Taveras has a lifetime .320 OBP.

This winter, Taveras is down in Mexico playing for Yaquis de Obregon, with whom he has a .280 average, .333 OBP and .400 slugging percentage in 150 at-bats. He has two home runs, 12 doubles and is 8-for-11 in steal attempts.

From 2005-09, Taveras had an 82.1 percent success rate as a basestealer, fourth highest in the Majors among players with at least 150 steals in that stretch.

Taveras' eighth Major League season would be his first in the American League.

Kansas City Royals, Willy Taveras