SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Third baseman Pedro Feliz, a veteran who signed a Minor League contract with the Royals, asked for and was granted his release Sunday.

Feliz, 35, was signed as infield insurance but had an out in his contract that he could secure his release if he was not placed on the Major League roster.

He was used little during Spring Training as Mike Aviles solidified his job as the regular third baseman and Wilson Betemit emerged as a probable infield backup.

Feliz played in 15 Cactus League games and batted .167 (4-for-24) with two doubles, a home run and three RBIs.

Known as an outstanding glove man, Feliz played nine years for the San Francisco Giants and hit 20 or more homers in four straight seasons, 2004-07. After two years with the Philadelphia Phillies, he split last season between the Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals.

Francis happy with final spring outing

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals left-hander Jeff Francis pitched out of early jams against the Giants on Sunday and termed his final Cactus League outing a success.

"The results were good," Francis said. "I did some things rather sharply and I think I threw a lot of strikes, and that's what I went out there trying to do."

Francis gave up just one run and finished the spring season with a 3.60 ERA. Normally a contact-type pitcher, he had 13 strikeouts in his last 10 innings.

"That's not something I expect to do," he said. "I'm out there and I'm trying to throw strikes. I don't get into a lot of deep counts because I want guys to hit the ball and strikeouts aren't going to be something I'm going to lean on."

Royals send Fish back to Angels

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rule 5 population in the Royals' clubhouse was cut in half Sunday when left-hander Robert Fish was returned to the Los Angeles Angels.

Fish was claimed off waivers from the New York Yankees on March 13. The Yankees had selected Fish in last winter's Rule 5 Draft from the Angels.

He appeared in three games with the Royals and gave up four runs on four hits in three innings. Counting his Spring Training time with the Yankees, his ERA was 10.57 in eight games.

The other Rule 5 player with the Royals is right-handed pitcher Nate Adcock, picked by Kansas City from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Aikens comfortable in coaching role

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Former Royals first baseman Willie Aikens has eased right into his new job as a Minor League coach.

Aikens has been coaching hitters and giving anti-drug lectures to the young players since reporting to the Royals' camp recently. His arrival was delayed because his wife, Sara, suffered a stroke on Feb. 9 in Kansas City.

"She's still paralyzed on her right side. I talked to her last night over the phone so she's able to talk now," Aikens said. "She told me that she's improving."

Aikens, who starred for the Royals in the 1980 World Series, has turned his life around since serving a 14-year prison term for cocaine distribution.

"I'm just doing what I was hired to do, working with the players and helping them off the field as much as I can," he said.

On the field, he's a hitting coach.

"That's what I did as a player," he said. "I wasn't much of a defensive player and I couldn't run, but I hit OK. I'm working with the hitters now and hopefully I'll be able to teach them a thing or two."

Aikens said he expects to return to Kansas City on Wednesday to be with his wife and also to attend Thursday's Opening Day game against the Angels.

Kendrick named Negro Leagues Museum president

Bob Kendrick, longtime marketing director of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, has returned to the Kansas City landmark as its president.

Kendrick, 48, was passed over for the position in December 2008 when the presidency went to Greg Baker. Fourteen months later, Kendrick left the museum and became executive director of the National Sports Center for the Disabled-Kansas City.

However, Baker resigned as president last October and last week Kendrick was announced as the museum board's choice as president.

The museum, co-founded by the late baseball ambassador and former Royals scout Buck O'Neil, has been struggling financially, and Kendrick said that memberships and fundraising will be priorities.