Johnny Cueto joins Royals following trade

CLEVELAND (AP) Johnny Cueto spent part of his first hours with the Kansas City Royals running up and down the steps inside an empty Progressive Field.

He's already on the move as the team's new ace.

Acquired Sunday in a trade from Cincinnati, Cueto joined his new teammates for the first time Tuesday and said he's excited about being a part of the AL's best team - one he might make even better.

''I'm very happy and very proud to be here,'' Cueto said through Royals catching coach Pedro Grifol, who served as his translator. ''I'm happy it's all over. There were times I wondered where I would end up. I've got some friends here and I'm familiar with the club.''

After driving to Cleveland from Cincinnati, Cueto, who will wear No. 47, introduced himself around Kansas City's clubhouse before the Royals continued their series with the Indians. Cueto smiled easily as he worked the room, knowing he had joined a team with aspirations to win a World Series after losing to San Francisco in seven games last October.

Later, he was on the field playing catch - a sight that pleased manager Ned Yost.

''He looks good in blue,'' Yost said.

Cueto faced and lost to the Royals earlier this season. On May 19, he allowed three runs and nine hits in seven innings, and came away with respect for the defending AL champions

''I noticed this is a good club,'' Cueto said. ''There's a lot of versatility. We can run. We can score runs. If I make pitches, the defense is going to make plays.''

And while he's thrilled to be joining one of baseball's best teams, the Royals are equally excited to have Cueto.

When he arrived at Kansas City's downtown hotel, Cueto was greeted by a sign welcoming to the Royals and he posed for an Instagram photo while wearing a crown.

''It's an easy group to get along with,'' Hosmer said. ''We have a lot of fun. When the game starts we play, we give everything we've got. We know he's similar type guy. We're looking forward to having him.''

To make room for Cueto, the Royals designated right-hander Joe Blanton for assignment.

Cueto, who won 20 games for the Reds last season, will make his debut for the Royals on Friday in Toronto.

Yost said the Royals had their eye on the 29-year-old Cueto for some time. He praised Kansas City owner David Glass and general manager Dayton Moore for making the move, and for the one to acquire utilityman Ben Zobrist and $2,598,306 from Oakland.

''Very seldom does an organization get into a position that we're in, a chance to do something really special this year,'' Yost said. ''You want to make sure you take advantage of it, try to put the best team on the field that you can so hopefully we can all realize our dream of winning the World Series.

''We came so close last year.''

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.