The Cubs have agreed to terms with right-hander Joel Pineiro on a minor league contract, according to Hiram Torraca of El Nuevo Dia in Puerto Rico (Spanish Twitter link). The Puerto Rican veteran will spend 10 days in extended Spring Training before reporting to Triple-A Iowa, per Torraca. Pineiro is a client of the Wasserman Media Group.
Pineiro, 35, hasn't appeared in the Major Leagues since 2011 or the minor leagues since 2012. He inked a minor league deal with the Orioles last offseason after shoulder surgery cut his 2012 campaign short. Pineiro spent some time rehabbing with the club, but he was released midway through the season without getting into a game. Earlier this offseason, Pineiro was said by MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez to be attempting a comeback.
Pineiro experienced success with the Mariners early in his career, posting a 3.29 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 481 1/3 innings with the team from 2001-03 — his age-22 to age-24 seasons. He scuffled over the next several years, however, and ultimately found himself released by Seattle.
After a brief stop with the Red Sox, Pineiro became one of the many pitchers to experience a career resurgence under the tutelage of Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan. Pineiro pitched to a 3.49 ERA in 214 innings for the Cardinals in 2009 and led the league with a stellar 1.1 BB/9 rate (which helped offset his low 4.4 K/9 clip). That performance helped him land a two-year, $16MM contract with the Angels, and while he maintained his strong performance in 2010, he struggled again in 2011 and hasn't been back to the bigs since.
For his career, Pineiro owns a 4.41 ERA with 5.4 K.9, 2.5 BB/9 and a strong 49.2 percent ground-ball rate thanks to his sinker. Chicago's rotation currently consists of Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson, Jason Hammel and Carlos Villanueva, with both Jake Arrieta and James McDonald on the disabled list. A strong performance for Pineiro at Triple-A could get him some consideration for starts later in the season in the event of further injuries or trades of current rotation members such as Samardzija or Hammel.