Royals release P Cruz, call up Chen

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Royals have released Juan Cruz in the latest step in revamping one of baseball's worst bullpens.

Kansas City also designated right-hander Luis Mendoza for assignment on Friday and filled the open spots with lefty Bruce Chen and right-hander Brad Thompson, two non-roster invitees to spring training.

Cruz agreed to a $6 million, two-year contract in February 2009, but the Royals decided to cut ties with the right-hander after he allowed opponents to hit .391 against him in 5 1/3 innings this season.

Last week, Kansas City designated right-hander Roman Colon for assignment and called up right-hander Josh Rupe from Triple-A Omaha.