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Whitworth pitcher inks pro deal

Whitworth pitcher Nathan Johnson signed a free agent contract with the Kansas City Royals over the weekend.

Johnson, a right-hander from Colfax who was 5-4 with a 4.14 earned-run average in his senior season for the Pirates, left Monday for Phoenix where he will join the Royals’ team in the Arizona Rookie League.

Johnson, who was an honorable mention on the All-Northwest Conference team, is the first Pirate to sign a pro contract since Matt Squires was taken by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 19th round of the 2001 amateur draft.