DENVER -- The Royals made another large investment in their international program, signing outfielder Elier Hernandez on Saturday in the Dominican Republic.
Hernandez, 16, from San Cristobal, is expected to develop into a right-handed power hitter who can play a corner outfield position.
His signing bonus was reported to be just more than $3 million by the International Prospect League where Hernandez has been playing.
Rene Francisco, the Royals special assistant to the general manager who announced the signing, declined to reveal the amount but said, "It's the biggest bonus we've ever given an international player, let's put it that way."
That does not include a Major League contract for $7 million the Royals gave to lefty pitcher Noel Arguelles, a Cuban defector, on Jan. 5, 2010.
Hernandez came to terms on Saturday, the first day that international signings are permitted by Major League Baseball, which must approve the deal.
"It was a long process, but we felt he was the best athlete and bat combination out there -- and a bat with power," Francisco said.
The deal was closed by the Royals' Latin America supervisor, Orlando Estevez. Alvin Cuevas, the Dominican scouting supervisor and area scout Edis Perez spent two years evaluating Hernandez.
"They did a very, very good job of following this kid and seeing him play for the last two years. We've known this kid since he was 14 years old," Francisco said.
"He's gotten better since we laid eyes on him the first time. His makeup is outstanding. He is very intelligent and his mom and dad are great parents -- he has a good foundation."
At present, Hernandez is around 6-2 or 6-3 and 190 pounds.
"The guy can hit with power and play good defense in one of the corners," Francisco said. "The tools he has are really good for his age. We believe he has a plus arm, and for a big kid, he tracks the ball really good in the outfield."
Francisco said the Royals also expect to sign two players soon in Venezuela -- catcher Luis Lara and shortstop Angelo Castellano -- for lesser bonuses.
Yost shuffles lineup, hoping to spark offense
DENVER -- The aspirin was on Ned Yost's desk in the visiting clubhouse before Saturday night's game. The Royals' manager woke up with a headache.
"I felt like I slept under a rock last night," Yost said.
More like under the Rockies, who gave the Royals a 9-0 headache on Friday night, the shutout only underscoring the recent lack of runs by Yost's club. There's no easy answer but Yost did a little lineup tinkering for the second game of the series.
Nothing very dramatic. He'd already lifted hot-hitting Chris Getz into the leadoff spot with Melky Cabrera going back to his old No. 2 spot in the opener. For Saturday night, he inserted Alex Gordon into his original third position with Jeff Francoeur hitting fourth, Eric Hosmer fifth and so on.
"You try to keep an offense sequence going no matter where your lineup is. Up till the last couple of days, we've been pretty productive getting things going from one to six and then seven, eight, nine halts," Yost said. "We're trying to find a way to keep that sequence going all throughout the lineup."
His options are limited at Colorado because the pitchers are hitting, but designated hitter Billy Butler will be dropped into the cleanup spot on Monday at Chicago against the White Sox, with perhaps Mike Moustakas hitting eighth and Alcides Escobar ninth.
"You spread 'em out more," Yost said. "I want speed and athleticism at the top and I want guys that can at least have a chance to produce down at the bottom and keep it going."
In the first four games of this trip, all losses, the Royals were just 3-for-29 (.109) with runners in scoring position with a total of only six runs. Yost was confident the batting slide would end sometime.
"It always does," he said, "but it's painful going through it."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.