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Brett Tomko signs with Royals

Tomko, Brett 81

We first saw the news from York Dispatch Revolution beat reporter John Walk, that the MLB comeback bid of 40-year-old Brett Tomko has life, after he agreed to a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals.

Tomko of course made 19 starts for the Revolution last year before cutting his season short, to enroll in Royals scout school, while stopping short of using the word “retirement.”  It turns out Tomko, who pitched in 14 Major League seasons for the Reds, Mariners, Padres, Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers, Padres again, Royals, Padres a third time, Yankees, A’s and Rangers, was not ready to hang it up just yet after 19 professional seasons overall and will get a second go-round with Kansas City as a player before he becomes a scout.  After the 1999 season, he was one of the key players in the Cincinnati-Seattle deal that sent Ken Griffey Jr. from the Mariners to the Reds.

While the odds may be long at a big league return at his age, if Tomko can earn a spot with Triple-A Omaha, who knows.  He’s beaten long odds before; his most recent MLB time with Texas in 2011 came after a debilitating nerve injury in his pitching arm with Oakland in 2009, while starting and winning his 100th Major League game.

Tomko is also one of a handful of players profiled in-depth in best-selling author John Feinstein’s new book about Triple-A baseball, Where Nobody Knows Your Name which chronicles the 2012 season.

-Paul Braverman

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