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Orioles re-sign reliever Logan Ondrusek

The Orioles retained right-hander Logan Ondrusek, signing the free-agent reliever to a one-year deal, according to an industry source.

Ondrusek signed with the Orioles in late-July, plucked from the Yakult Swallows of the Japanese Central League. The Orioles hoped the addition would address a need for relief help against left-handed batters that existed since situational lefty Brian Matusz failed early on and was traded in May.

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But Ondrusek struggled, posting a 9.95 ERA in 6 1/3 relief innings before he was optioned to Double-A Bowie. He allowed eight of the 13 left-handed batters he faced to reach base (6-for-11 with two walks).

The Orioles eventually solved their need against left-handed hitters when left-hander Donnie Hart emerged in the season's final two months. Hart posted a 0.49 ERA over 18 1/3 relief innings and held lefties to a .132 batting average in 44 plate appearances.

Ondrusek, 31, allowed six runs – five earned – over seven innings in five appearances at Bowie. The Orioles believed that his struggles were in part due to a difficulty getting adjusted to the size and feel of major league baseballs. Baseballs in Japan are slightly smaller and have a tacky finish on them, which could explain why Ondrusek's go-to pitch against lefties – his splitter – was constantly elevated in his brief time with the Orioles.

Ondrusek had a club option for 2017 that was declined by the Orioles, making him a free agent in November. But the team re-signed him to a $650,000 deal that also includes a club option for 2018, according to FanRag Sports, which first reported the deal.

eencina@baltsun.com
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