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Orioles' recent minor league signings

Another list of minor league signings, which says the Orioles added four players from Jan. 13 to Jan. 16, was recently posted on Baseball America's Web site. One of the signees was Chris Gomez, who actually agreed to terms with the team on Jan. 9.

Unlike Gomez, the other three players are new to the Orioles' minor league system. The team also signed left-handed pitcher Bobby Livingston, right-handed pitcher Blair Johnson and first baseman Craig Brazell to minor league deals.

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The Seattle Mariners drafted Livingston in the fourth round of the 2001 draft. After spending more than four seasons in the Mariners' minor league system, the 6-foot-3, 193-pound pitcher made his major league debut on April 25, 2006. He allowed 10 earned runs in five innings for the Mariners before being demoted to the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers on May 15, 2006.

Following the 2006 season, Livingston was designated for assignment, and the Cincinnati Reds claimed him off waivers. Livingston was 3-3 with a 5.27 ERA in 10 starts for the Reds during the 2007 season, but he was placed on the disabled list on Aug. 24, 2007 with a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. The 26-year-old pitcher missed the beginning of the 2008 season while recovering from the injury. Livingston was 4-4 with a 4.98 ERA in nine starts for the Triple-A Louisville Bats in 2008. Look for him to provide depth for the Orioles in the minor leagues, perhaps with the Triple-A Norfolk Tides.

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Livingston should be familiar with the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. As an amateur, he pitched for the Bethesda Big Train in the Clark Griffith League during the summer of 2001. Other Big Train players include former Orioles pitcher John Maine and Washington Nationals minor league right-hander Steve Schmoll, who pitched for the University of Maryland from 2000 to 2003.

The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Johnson in the second round of the 2002 MLB draft, but the 6-foot-4, 218-pound pitcher hasn't pitched above Double-A. His career has been slowed by several injuries, including numerous shoulder ailments.

Johnson, who will turn 25 in March, was 3-2 with a 4.06 ERA in 27 games (one start) with the Single-A Lynchburg Hillcats in 2008. He was also 1-0 with a 10.00 ERA in seven appearances with the Double-A Altoona Curve last season. Overall, Johnson is 18-14 with a 4.36 ERA in 92 games (57 starts) during seven seasons in the Pirates' minor league system.

With his limited experience and past injury issues, it seems to be a longshot that Johnson will ever contribute in the major leagues for the Orioles. Still, he'll likely work out of the bullpen in the minors, and there's always hope that he can rejuvenate his career if he remains healthy.

The New York Mets picked Brazell in the fifth round of the 1998 MLB draft. The 6-foot-3, 211-pound first baseman played for seven seasons in the Mets' minor league system before making his major league debut on Aug. 17, 2004. Brazell hit .265 with one home run and three RBIs in 24 games for the Mets during the 2004 season.

Brazell, who will turn 29 in May, signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers in March 2006. He batted .247 with 21 home runs and 91 RBIs in 117 games for the Double-A Jacksonville Suns in the Dodgers' minor league system during the 2006 season.

The left-handed-hitting slugger signed with the Kansas City Royals before the 2007 season, and he led all minor leaguers with 39 home runs and 326 total bases while splitting time between the Double-A Wichita Wranglers and the Triple-A Omaha Royals. Brazell was 1-for-4 in five games with the Royals after being called up in September.

Brazell played with the Seibu Lions in Japan during the 2008 season. He batted .234 with 27 home runs and 87 RBIs in 130 games. Brazell, however, struck out 139 times and only collected 30 walks for the Lions.

At his age, Brazell shouldn't be viewed as a long-term solution in the major leagues. On the other hand, his numbers -- 162 home runs and 629 RBIs in 950 minor league games -- show that he could provide some power to the organization. Keep your eye on Brazell during spring training to see how he performs.

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