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Royals release pitcher, Bristol native Jimmy Gobble

Staff Report • Mar 19, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Jimmy Gobble -- a native of Bristol, Va., and former standout at John S. Battle High School -- is no longer the Kansas City Royals' left-handed specialist out of the bullpen.

The club requested unconditional release waivers on Gobble on Wednesday morning, according to MLB.com.

Gobble, the longest-tenured Royals player, was caught off-guard by the news.

"I was definitely shocked," Gobble said. "It kind of came out of left field. From my understanding -- but obviously assumptions aren't always the best things to go on -- but I thought I was on the team, pretty much."

Gobble, 27, had spent his entire career in the Royals organization since he was a supplemental first-round selection (43rd overall) in the 1999 Draft.

After having his best season in 2007, when he pitched in 74 games and had a 3.02 ERA and 4-1 record, Gobble slipped badly last year.

His ERA soared to 8.81, he appeared in just 39 games and lost both of his decisions. He also was bothered by lower back tightness which put him on the disabled list from July 22 to Sept. 2.

But he held left-handed batters to a .200 (13-for-65) average and indications were that he'd retain his role as a weapon against lefties this season.

In 236 games including 43 starts for the Royals, he had a 22-23 record and 5.23 ERA with four saves.

By asking release waivers on Gobble, the Royals are obligated to pay him just one-sixth of his $1.35 million salary, or $225,000, instead of one-fourth of that salary ($337,500) if he were released after March 18.

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