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Orioles sign hard-throwing right-hander Juan Morillo to minor league deal

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles have signed hard-throwing right-hander Juan Morillo to a minor league deal, according to an industry source.

Morillo, who has made nine major league appearances over four seasons with the Colorado Rockies and Minnesota Twins, will report to the team’s minor league camp at Twin Lakes Park.

Most recently, the 30-year-old Morillo pitched professionally in Taiwan for the EDA Rhinos and served as the club's closer. This season, he set a Chinese Professional Baseball League record when his fastball was clocked at 99.4 mph.

During his brief time in the majors from 2006 to 2009, Morillo’s fastball averaged 97.2 mph, according to FanGraphs, and his sinker averaged 93.7 mph.

But he’s been unable to capitalize on his velocity because he has struggled through some major control issues. Over his minor league career, he posted a subpar 1.56 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

That forced Morillo into international stints in Mexico, Japan and Taiwan.

Before going to Taiwan, he pitched for Laguna of the Mexican League last season, going 1-2 with a 7.88 ERA and one save in eight relief innings. In 2012, he pitched in the Philadelphia Phillies' minor league system and was 1-2 with a 5.34 ERA in 40 relief appearances between the Double-A and Triple-A levels.

Morillo, who has a 13.50 ERA in 10 2/3 career major league innings, last pitched in the majors in 2009 with the Twins, when he pitched just two innings, allowing five runs over three appearances.

He made the Rockies’ Opening Day roster that season, but he didn't make any appearances before being designated for assignment in the first month.

Given his past minor league experience, Morillo is likely to start at Triple-A Norfolk.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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