BALTIMORE – The Orioles signed veteran major league reliever Jon Rauch to a minor league contract on Saturday. The 6-foot-11 inch Rauch, who was released by Miami on May 22, will report to Norfolk on Monday.
The 34-year-old Rauch is 43-40 with a 3.90 ERA in 11 major league seasons. He was 1-2 with a 7.56 ERA in 15 games with the Marlins this season. In 2012, he was 3-7 with a 3.59 ERA in 73 games with the New York Mets.
“He can set up and hold a game. He can also save a game. He’s got over 60 saves in his major league career. He’s a good veteran relief presence. We’ll take a look at him at Triple-A and see how it goes,” Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said.
“He had a good year last year, and we had some interest in him in the offseason. Sometimes with a new team it doesn’t work out right away. Sometimes when you’re a veteran pitcher it takes a longer time to get into the swing of things.”
Rauch led the majors with 88 appearances in 2007 with the
Nationals. He came from Montreal to play with the Nationals in their first four seasons in Washington. He’s also played with the Chicago White Sox, Minnesota and Toronto in his 11-year major league career.
He joins a Tides team that includes two other tall pitchers, 6-foot-9 Mark Hendrickson and 6-foot-8 Adam Russell.
“It’s kind of like big-time wrestling. It’s the entertainment value, right?” Duquette joked.
Duquette likes the staff at Norfolk which also includes left-handers Chris Jones and Mike Belfiore and right-handers Manny Delcarmen and Jairo Asencio.
“We have some qualified options,” Duquette said.
Jones was acquired from Atlanta in April for Luis Ayala, and Duquette said that Rauch essentially replaces Ayala.
Duquette declined to say whether Rauch has an opt-out clause.
“He’s worth taking a look at,” Duquette said.
Duquette said that he anticipates keeping Cuban defector Henry Urrutia at Bowie instead of promoting him.