Orioles sign left-handed reliever Kelvin De La Cruz to major league deal

The Baltimore Sun

The Orioles have signed left-handed reliever Kelvin De La Cruz to a one-year contract, the team announced Monday evening.

De La Cruz, 25, hasn’t pitched in the major leagues, but he pitched well for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Triple-A team in Albuquerque in 2013, going 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA in 47 appearances over 62 1/3 innings.

The club signed De La Cruz to a major league deal, so he will be added to the organization’s 40-man roster, which is now at 32 players.

“He’s a big strong left-handed pitcher with good pitches,” Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said. “He dominated left-handed hitters in Triple-A last year and showed the capability to gets swings and misses. At 25, he should be able to compete for our big league club.”

Earlier in the day, the Orioles announced the signings of five players -- right-hander Tim Alderson, right-hander Brock Huntzinger, left-hander Nick Additon, outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang,and outfielder Kyeong Kang -- to minor league deals.

Alderson, Huntzinger and Additon will all receive invitations to major league spring training, but the club won’t formally announce that until later this offseason.

Among all the signings, the most important is De La Cruz, who could compete for a situational spot in the Orioles bullpen this season. De La Cruz held left-handed hitters to a .217/.298/261 slash line with 37 strikeouts in 106 plate appearances in 2013.

The Orioles had three left-handed relievers in the bullpen last season, with Brian Matusz and Troy Patton receiving most of the situational matchups against left-handed hitters.

Rookie left-hander T.J. McFarland was utilized primarily as a long reliever, but received some late-inning relief appearances toward the end of the season. He has pitched primarily as a starter in the Venezuelan Winter League this year, and his future could be in that role.

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