Giants sign Ramon Ortiz to minor-league contract

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Ramon Ortiz has an amazing ability to stick around despite not being an effective pitcher since 2004 and the Giants just announced that they’ve signed the 39-year-old to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Washed up old guys are sort of general manager Brian Sabean’s thing and Ortiz was at least reasonably useful for the Cubs last season, throwing 33 innings with a 4.86 ERA. And that was his best ERA in seven years, during which time he’s logged a total of 529 innings with a 5.47 ERA while earning around $15 million.

How he’s done it I’ll never understand, but it certainly shouldn’t shock anyone if Ortiz somehow ends up back in the majors with the Giants at some point this season.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. saved by the ivy

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The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.

After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.

Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.