BALTIMORE — The Kansas City Royals jumped at the opportunity to acquire speedy outfielder Josh Anderson from the Detroit Tigers on Thursday morning.
The former Eastern Kentucky and Lexington Legends standout offers the speed and defensive playmaking ability lacking in the club's outfield since an injury sidelined veteran Coco Crisp in late May. And Anderson comes at no risk and almost no cost — only a little more than the standard $20,000 waiver fee.
Anderson, 26, was 10-for-19 with three steals in eight games earlier this year against the Royals.
"We had an opportunity to acquire a player who has usable speed," General Manager Dayton Moore said. "He does two things very, very well: play defense and run the bases. He'll get an opportunity to play."
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Those opportunities dwindled recently in Detroit. Anderson was designated for assignment June 24 to clear roster space for Carlos Guillen's return from the disabled list.
Anderson's reporting date is uncertain because his wife is close to giving birth, though the Royals hope to have him available for Friday night's series opener at Tampa Bay.
The Royals moved to make the deal, rather than risk waiting for a waiver claim, after the Yankees expressed interest in Anderson as a possible interim replacement for injured outfielder Brett Gardner.
Anderson can play all three outfield positions but figures to become the Royals' starting center fielder. He batted .242 this season in 74 games for the Tigers with no homers and 16 RBI, and he stole 13 bases in 15 attempts.
"You can always use speed, especially with that big ballpark that we play in," Manager Trey Hillman said. "We plan on utilizing him. I don't know if it will be every day, but we'll use him."
Anderson previously spent time with the Astros and Braves.