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RAYS ADD CATCHER, RELIEVER OPTIONS

The Rays added another option for the backup catcher's job and a potential left-hander for the bullpen by signing Josh Paul and Brian Anderson to minor-league contracts.

Paul, 32, became a free agent after spending the past two seasons with the Rays but - absent a major-league offer elsewhere - returns to compete at catcher with Shawn Riggans, the apparent frontrunner, and Mike Difelice, another veteran on a minor-league deal.

All three are question marks. Paul, a favorite of manager Joe Maddon, was limited to 35 games last season because of a May wrist injury and a late-season sore back, hitting .190. (He would get $675,000 if he makes the team.)

Riggans was limited to 44 games (three in the majors) because of an elbow injury. And Difelice, 38, played only 16 big-league games for the Mets, spending most of the season at Triple-A New Orleans.

Anderson, 35, missed the past two seasons recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery and probably won't be ready to start the season. But he provides a low-risk (and, with a $475,000 salary, low-cost) option for a team that doesn't have an established left-handed reliever - though it remains interested in free agent Trever Miller.

Anderson, the No.2 pick in the November 1997 expansion draft by Arizona, has a career 82-83big-league record with a 4.74 ERA, last pitching May 8, 2005, for Kansas City. He has also been with the Angels and Indians.

The Rays now have 53 players on their spring roster with camp scheduled to open Feb. 15.

Marc Topkin can be reached attopkin@sptimes.com. Read his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/rays.

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