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Orioles sign right-hander Oliver Drake to major league deal

The Orioles have kept relief pitcher Oliver Drake in the organization, signing the right-hander to a major league deal, the club announced Tuesday.

Drake, 27, became a minor league free agent after this past season. By signing a major league deal, he joins the organization's 40-man roster for the second time in his career. The Orioles now have 34 players on their 40-man roster.

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Drake led the Eastern League with 31 saves while pitching for Double-A Bowie in 2014. He was 2-4 with a 3.08 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings.

The Orioles selected Drake in the 43rd round of the 2008 draft out of the Naval Academy. The club placed him on its 40-man roster after the 2011 season, but he missed most of the next year with shoulder issues.

Drake made just three starts for Bowie in 2012 and underwent surgery in August of that year that slowed his progression through the Orioles' minor league system. He was removed from the 40-man roster in September 2012 and moved into a relief role beginning in the 2013 season.

But by adding Drake to the 40-man roster again, it shows that the Orioles have hope that he can help the club as a converted reliever.

Teams have until Thursday to set their 40-man roster to protect players from the Rule 5 draft.

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