Pirates Sign Juan Cruz

The Pirates signed reliever Juan Cruz to a minor league deal with a spring training invite, the team announced.

Cruz, 33, posted a 3.88 ERA, 8.5 K/9, 5.2 BB/9, 0.92 HR/9, and 35.2% groundball rate for the Rays last year in 48 2/3 innings.  Cruz missed time in July with a groin strain, and his average fastball velocity dipped below 93 miles per hour for the first time in his career.  Pirates GM Neal Huntington may be hoping Cruz can match the contribution of another wild right-handed Praver/Shapiro client he signed to a minor league deal a year ago.  Jose Veras gave the Bucs 71 innings of 3.80 ball in 2011 for a total of $1.35MM, and was traded to the Brewers for Casey McGehee after the season.

Cruz will compete for a bullpen job with other non-roster invitees such as Michael Crotta, Ryota Igarashi, Logan Kensing, Shairon Martis, Jo-Jo Reyes, Doug Slaten, and Tim Wood.

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