Pirates sign RHP Velasquez in hopes of bolstering rotation

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Pirates signed right-handed pitcher Vince Velasquez to a one-year, $3.15 million contract on Tuesday in an attempt to give their young starting rotation a veteran presence.

The 30-year-old Velasquez spent last season working primarily as a reliever with the Chicago White Sox. Velasquez went 3-3 with a 4.78 ERA in 27 appearances for Chicago, with nine starts. He pitched well down the stretch for the White Sox, posting a 2.92 ERA with 24 strikeouts in his final 11 games with Chicago.

The eight-year veteran has a career 34-47 record with a 4.93 ERA in 183 appearances, 136 of them starts, with Houston, Philadelphia, San Diego and Chicago. Velasquez joins a rotation that includes Mitch Keller, J.T. Brubaker, Roansy Contreras and potentially Johan Oviedo or Luis Ortiz, among others.

Though Velasquez worked in a flex role for Chicago, Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said Velasquez has a “starter’s repertoire.”

This is the second straight offseason Pittsburgh has signed a pitcher with a starter’s pedigree who had transitioned to the bullpen. The Pirates brought in José Quintana on a one-year and he responded by mentoring a young staff and pitching well before being traded to St. Louis at the deadline.


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