The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed right handed reliever Juan Cruz to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, per a team press release. Cruz has a strong track record in the majors, with a career 4.13 ERA in 619.1 innings, along with a 9.1 K/9 and a 4.8 BB/9 ratio. Last year he pitched 48.2 innings with the Tampa Bay Rays, putting up a 3.88 ERA, an 8.5 K/9 and a 5.2 BB/9 ratio.
Control has always been an issue for Cruz, but he's got good stuff which leads to a strikeout an inning. His velocity has gone down the last few years, averaging 92.8 MPH in 2011, which was down from the 94-95 MPH range in 2007-2009.
Cruz looked like a strong set-up man in 2008 with the Diamondbacks, when he had a 2.61 ERA, along with a 12.37 K/9 and a 5.4 BB/9 ratio. He struggled with the Royals in 2009, and missed most of the 2010 season with a shoulder injury.
Out of all of the non-roster invitees the Pirates have added this off-season, Cruz looks like the best bet to make the majors, ...
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