Royals claim Chris Volstad off waivers from Cubs

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Chris Volstad was a flop in Chicago after the Cubs acquired him from the Marlins in the Carlos Zambrano salary dump, going 3-12 with a 6.21 ERA in 21 starts.

Today the Royals claimed Volstad off waivers, which is an odd move considering he made $2.66 million this season and would be in line for a similar salary for 2013 via arbitration.

Under the rules of arbitration the Royals could only cut Volstad’s salary by 20 percent, but they could non-tender him and then attempt to re-sign him for less. Of course, they could also have just waited for the Cubs to non-tender him and do the same thing.

Volstad is a 6-foot-8 former first-round pick and showed some promise early in his career, but now he’s 26 years old with a 5.14 ERA in 611 innings since 2009.

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem last night

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Pittsburgh Pirates swingman Steven Brault has a 4.38 ERA in 19 games this year. He also has a music degree and is a professional singer on the side of his baseball gig. He didn’t get into last night’s game against the Brewers as a pitcher, but he did get to use his singing skills.

Specifically, Brault got to sing the National Anthem. And he did an OK job of it too. He’s not Whitney Houston or anything, but he did what all Anthem singers who are not as gifted as Whitney Houston was should do: he kept it straight and businesslike, avoiding unnecessary flourishes:

It’s march, dang it, not a ballad, and it should be treated as such. Unless of course you’re Whitney Houston.