Royals sign Mitch Maier because

Hannah Foslien

Maier was assigned to Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

The Kansas City Royals don't give up easily.

Former first round pick Mitch Maier is back with the club after a brief period outside the organization. Maier, drafted in 2003, signed a minor league deal with the Royals and will report to Double-A Northwest Arkansas, according to the Kansas City Star's Andy McCullough.

The 31-year-old has had some success as a fourth outfielder in his brief major league career. Over parts of six seasons with the Royals, Maier hit .248/.327/.344 and flashed a useful glove in left and center field. Last year, Maier hit .310/.431/.451 in 31 games for the Red Sox Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket.

He'll presumably serve as organizational depth this time around for the Royals, but if Kansas City's stubbornness in the past -- with players like Luke Hochevar and Kyle Davies -- Maier could see time in the majors in 2014.

Unless the Royals promote one of their current Double-A outfielders, Maier figures to takes at bats away from developing players -- most notably prospect Jorge Bonifacio. The Naturals also use 24-year-old Lane Adams and 25-year-old Whit Merrifield in the outfield, and while neither player is projected to be a major factor in the organization, they might have more to offer in the future than Maier.

Of course, it never hurts to have a decent defender who isn't completely impotent at the plate in the fold if a string of injuries ravages the big league roster.

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