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Orioles announce minor league signings of pair with ties to Mike Elias, Brandon Hyde

The Orioles on Thursday announced a pair of minor league signings, adding catcher Taylor Davis and right-handed pitcher Brady Rodgers.

Davis, 30, spent his entire professional career in the Chicago Cubs system after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He appeared in the majors for the Cubs each of the past three seasons, playing 20 total games and batting .222/.256/.333. His lone major league home run, which came in 2019, was a grand slam. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde was a member of the Cubs coaching staff during the first two years of Davis’ time in the major leagues.

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A career .277/.348/.398 hitter in the minor leagues with experience playing both corner infield spots, Davis is perhaps best known for going viral after the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate posted a video compilation of him finding and staring into whatever camera was in his vicinity.

Davis joins a group of catchers that features returning platoon starters Pedro Severino and Chance Sisco, Triple-A games leader Austin Wynns, and fellow minor league signee Bryan Holaday, while Rodgers potentially adds his name to the Orioles’ starting rotation competition.

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Rodgers, 29, was a longtime member of the Houston Astros organization, having been selected in the third round of the 2012 draft. Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias was a special assistant to the general manager that year, with a focus on the amateur draft.

An Arizona State product, Rodgers has a 4.04 ERA in his minor league career, pitching mostly as a starter. He was once considered one of Houston’s top pitching prospects before undergoing Tommy John surgery in May 2017 and has pitched only 116⅔ innings in the two years since. He struggled in a pair of brief stints in the majors in 2016 and 2019, posting a 15.53 ERA.

The Orioles also have signed right-hander César Valdez to a minor league deal. Playing in both Mexico and the Dominican Republic over the past year, the 34-year-old had a 2.01 ERA in 188⅓ innings. Valdez last appeared in the majors in 2017 with the Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics, having not pitched in the majors from 2011 to 2016 after making his debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010.

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