Royals acquire Aoki from Brewers

The Sports NetworkDecember 5, 2013 

Kansas City, MO ( - The Kansas City Royals acquired outfielder Norichika Aoki from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for left- handed pitcher Will Smith on Thursday.

Aoki, 31, batted .286 with eight home runs, 37 RBI and 20 stolen bases for Milwaukee in 2013.

He ranked second in the majors with 40 infield hits, led the National League in singles (140) and hit .339 against left-handed pitching, the top average by a left-handed hitter in the majors.

"We wanted to acquire a leadoff hitter so we could move Alex Gordon more to the middle of the lineup," siad Royals GM Dayton Moore. "I like the speed, I like the versatility; he gives us a lot of flexibility in the outfield."

Prior to joining the Brewers two years ago, Aoki played eight seasons with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of the Japanese Central League. He hit .329 with 84 homers, 385 RBI and 164 stolen bases during his career in Japan.

Smith, 24, went 2-1 with a 3.24 ERA in 19 appearances, all but one as a reliever, for the Royals last season.

"Will Smith is someone we have liked for a couple of years now," said Brewers GM Doug Melvin. "We had the chance to acquire a 24-year-old big, physical left-hander who we feel can be a part of our staff. We could not walk away from the opportunity."

He has spent parts of the past two seasons with Kansas City, going 8-10 with a 4.76 ERA in 35 games, 17 of them starts. He is 6-10 with a 5.48 ERA as a starter and 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA as a reliever.

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