Former Royals starting pitcher Brian Bannister will be playing in Japan in 2011, according to, which reported Thursday that the 29-year-old right-hander agreed on a one-year contract -- plus a club option for 2012 -- with the Yomiuri Giants of the Japanese Central League.

Bannister has spent the past four years in the Royals' rotation, averaging 27 starts per season while going 35-49 with a 5.13 ERA.

In 2010, the former Mets seventh-round Draft pick struggled to a 7-12 record and a 6.34 ERA. He missed over a month late in the season with tendinitis in his pitching shoulder, then struggled upon returning in September and found himself out of the rotation.

Bannister was outrighted to Triple-A Omaha in November.