Bucs ink trio of arms to Minors deals

Bucs ink trio of arms to Minors deals

PITTSBURGH -- Still in search of finding a handful of pitchers capable of filling gaping holes in the bullpen, the Pirates have increased their pool of choices by signing three more pitchers to Minor League deals.

On Thursday, the team announced that it had signed right-handers Jaret Wright and Hector Carrasco and lefty Casey Fossum to Minor League contracts. All three have also been invited to Major League Spring Training.

Though Wright brings experience with him, he also carries an injury-laden history. The 32-year-old pitched in just three April games for the Orioles last season before sitting out the rest of the year with a sore right shoulder. In those three games -- all starts -- Wright went 0-3 and allowed eight earned runs and nine walks in just 10 1/3 innings.

Wright has been in the Majors since 1997, the same year that he started Game 7 of the World Series for Cleveland. Though 171 of his 226 career appearances have been as a starter, Wright will enter Spring Training fighting for a spot out of the bullpen, since the Pirates already have their rotation set.

If Wright, who is 68-60 with a 5.09 ERA in his career, makes the Major League roster, he will earn a salary of $800,000. Also written into his contract are incentives in which the right-hander could earn another $1.75 million in performance bonuses based on games finished and relief appearances, or $1 million in bonuses based on number of starts.

The addition of Fossum gives the Pirates another possible left-handed bullpen option. Fossum started the 2007 season with Tampa Bay and went 5-8 with a 7.70 ERA in 40 appearances (10 starts) for the club. He was released on Aug. 10 and finished the season pitching for the Padres' Triple-A team.

Fossum, 30, has split his time between starting and relieving, accruing a 37-52 record and 5.46 ERA in 203 appearances (120 starts). He made his Major League debut in 2001 with the Red Sox.

The veteran Carrasco will arrive at Pirates Spring Training with 12 years of Major League experience under his belt. The 39-year-old right-hander had a 6.57 ERA in 29 games for the Angels last year before being released in July. The 6.57 ERA in 2007 marked the first time in Carrasco's career that he ended a season with an ERA above 5.00.

Hot Stove

Used almost exclusively as a reliever since making his Major League debut in 1994, Carrasco has a career record of 44-50 with a 3.99 ERA in 647 appearances (10 starts). After being released, he finished last year pitching for Washington's Triple-A Columbus affiliate, posting an 8.84 ERA in 15 relief appearances. Carrasco also pitched in the Dominican League this offseason, logging 32 2/3 innings and allowing 15 runs while striking out 20.

If Carrasco makes the Pirates' Major League roster this season, it would mark the eighth different Major League team that he has pitched for.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.