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Tampa Bay Rays sign reliever Juan Cruz to minor-league deal

Rays pick up veteran reliever

The Rays added a candidate to their bullpen competition Thursday, signing right-hander Juan Cruz to a minor-league deal.

Cruz, 32, has pitched in parts of 10 seasons, mostly in middle relief, and has a career 4.15 ERA. He made five appearances for the Royals last season before being released April 23. A few weeks later he had shoulder surgery to remove a cyst. The Rays, who had success with Joaquin Benoit last year after signing him in similar circumstances, will have a better gauge of Cruz's status after seeing him in spring training.

Cruz had a solid 2006-08 stint in Arizona, going 15-7 with a 3.47 ERA in 141 appearances. He was ineffective with the Royals after signing a two-year, $5.5 million deal. He also has pitched for the Cubs, Braves and A's.

The Rays have 28 pitchers on their spring roster. At least 11 will compete for three bullpen spots. Four are considered claimed by Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta, Andy Sonnanstine and Adam Russell.

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Tampa Bay Rays sign reliever Juan Cruz to minor-league deal 02/03/11 [Last modified: Friday, February 4, 2011 7:18am]
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