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The Orioles have signed right-handed pitcher Mitch Atkins to a minor league deal with an invitation to big league spring training.

Atkins, 25, went 8-3 with a 3.63 ERA in 28 games (15 starts) in 2010 for Triple-A Iowa, a Chicago Cubs affiliate. He allowed 98 hits and 42 walks while striking out 76 in 106 innings.

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He also made seven big league relief appearances spanning 12 innings for the Cubs over the past two seasons, compiling a 5.25 ERA.

It's way too early to project his role with the 2011 Orioles, but he'll most likely come to spring training and compete for a long-relief spot in the bullpen.

The Orioles have also signed several of their own minor leaguers before they became eligible for free agency. They are relievers Will Startup and Raul Rivero, catcher Adam Donachie and infielder Carlos Rojas.

Startup, a lefty, went 3-0 with a 1.77 ERA while pitching in 24 games at three affiliates (the highest being Single-A Frederick) in 2010. Rivero was 4-3 with a 3.06 ERA in 37 appearances for Frederick and Double-A Bowie. Donachie hit .197 with four homers and 23 RBIs in 83 games for Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk while Rojas batted .239 with one homer and 40 RBIs in 93 games for Bowie.

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