MLB roundup: Orioles sign Cruz

The SportsXchange

The Baltimore Orioles agreed to a one-year, $8 million contract with free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz on Saturday, according to reports.

Cruz reportedly can earn up to an additional $750,000 in incentives.

Cruz had a batting line of .266/.327/.506 with 27 home runs and 76 RBI last season with the Texas Rangers before serving a 50-game suspension related to the Biogenesis scandal.

Over nine seasons, Cruz has a .268 batting average with 157 homers and 489 RBI.

Cruz cost himself millions of dollars as he rejected the Rangers' $14.1 million qualifying offer earlier this offseason. He was rumored to be seeking a long-term contract for $75 million.

---Texas Rangers catcher Geovany Soto had surgery on his left foot Saturday morning because a small bone was pushing against his flexor tendon and creating some pain, ESPNDallas.com reported.

Soto is expected to be ready for the start of the season.

The arthroscopic procedure should alleviate the pain so Soto can resume baseball activities in less than two weeks and be ready to play in about three weeks.

Even after Soto returns, backup J.P. Arencibia could still see some extended playing time early in the season.

Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said another option included Soto going through the season with a series of injections instead of surgery, but the procedure was chosen because of the quick recovery timeline.

"Once his sutures heal, which is in approximately 10 days, he should be able to return to almost all baseball activity and then the hope is at about the three-week mark he'd be effectively game ready," Levine said. "But we'll evaluate that."

Soto is expected to return to training camp on Monday.

Also, right-hander Matt Harrison is flying to Dallas on Sunday to have his tight back examined.

---St. Louis Cardinals left-hander Jaime Garcia is headed back to St. Louis on Sunday to have his surgically repaired throwing shoulder examined, meaning he is not expected to be ready for the start of the season.

Garcia had season-ending surgery last year after experiencing shoulder pain. He was throwing at the team's spring training facility in Jupiter, Fla., until pain returned in the last couple of days.

"He just hadn't quite felt right for the last 48 hours," general manager John Mozeliak said. "From a medical standpoint, no one thought it was that serious. But it wasn't improving and given how early it is in camp, there's no reason to try to work through something if it might be something larger. We think it is better to get some resolution and have him seen back in St. Louis."

Garcia, 27, was considered the favorite to be the Cardinals' No. 5 starter. He is the only left-hander in the rotation.

Garcia went 5-2 with a 3.58 ERA last year. He won a career-high 13 games in 2010 and 2011.

"Any time a pitcher that has thrown as much as he has experiences shoulder pain, goes in and gets a cleanup, it's not too hard to imagine that there could be still an uphill battle," Mozeliak said.

Mozeliak hopes to learn more about Garcia's status on Monday.

While Garcia is out, right-handers Carlos Martinez and Joe Kelly are the likely candidates to replace him. If the Cardinals prefer a left-hander, they could go with Tyler Lyons.

"I don't think it's any secret to anybody that having that solid left-hander seems to add a different component to an offense that might be locked in against some righties," manager Mike Matheny said.

---The Los Angeles Dodgers announced that they finalized a contract with Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena.

It is a five-year, $25 million deal that includes a $7.5 million signing bonus, according to reports.

The 23-year-old, who defected from Cuba in November, is known as a defensive shortstop who is not as skilled at the plate.

In Cuba's 2013 split season, Arruebarruena batted .275 in the first half and .317 in the second half, but analysts project him as a .220 hitter in the major leagues. Some compare his defensive prowess to Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias.

Arruebarruena was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball earlier this week, according to MLB.com, and cleared by the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control to enter into a contract with a major league team after establishing residency in Haiti.

---The San Francisco Giants are bringing back former star Barry Bonds as a special spring training instructor.

Bonds will work with the Giants' hitters.

"He's part of what we'll do here," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Saturday, according to the San Jose Mercury News. "He's going to be part of the group of instructors, like (Will) Clark, (J.T.) Snow or (Jeff) Kent. He's going to be like the other guys and help where he can. I don't have any concerns."

Bonds, 49, has expressed interest in returning to the team in some instructional capacity. He spent 15 of his 22 major-league seasons with the Giants.

The controversial former outfielder holds the all-time home run record, with 762, and won seven National League MVPs (five with the Giants). Despite that, he has missed out on being inducted to the Hall of Fame because of his alleged connections to performance-enhancing drugs, which he denies.

---The Giants signed outfielder Tyler Colvin to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Colvin previously agreed to a major league contract with the Baltimore Orioles in January, but the deal was canceled after the club expressed concerns about his back during a physical exam.

Colvin spent most of last season with the Rockies' Triple-A club in Colorado Springs, where he had a batting line of .275/.377/.480 with nine home runs and 32 RBI in 67 games. He batted .160 with three homers and 10 RBI in 75 at-bats with the Rockies.

The 28-year-old will compete for a backup spot in the Giants' outfield.
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