Pittsburgh Pirates Sign RHP Juan Cruz

The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed right-handed reliever Juan Cruz to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, according to a team press release.

With a career 4.13 ERA in 619.1 innings, the 33-year-old has been decent in the majors during his career. His 9.1 K/9 ratio is impressive

Last season, Cruz recorded a 3.88 ERA and 8.5 K/9 ratio in 48.2 innings.

From Tim Williams at Pirates Prospects:

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.

Cruz will more than likely pitch in the majors at some point this season, and could very well make the team out of Spring Training.