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Juan Cruz signs minor-league contract with Pirates

Feb 1, 2012, 2:14 PM EDT

Juan Cruz

Juan Cruz is the latest veteran reliever forced to settle for a minor-league contract in a buyer’s market, signing with the Pirates for a deal that includes an invitation to spring training.

Cruz is 33 years old, but was plenty effective for the Rays last season with a 3.88 ERA and 46/28 K/BB ratio in 49 innings.

His career numbers are skewed by a rough beginning as a starter, but Cruz has a 3.77 ERA and 249 strikeouts in 217 innings since moving to the bullpen full time in 2007. His velocity has dipped somewhat in recent years, but he still averaged 92.8 miles per hour with his fastball last season.

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