Padres expected to sign Christian Friedrich

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The Padres are expected to sign pitcher Christian Friedrich to a minor league deal, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Times reports. Lin noted that Friedrich was in Padres camp on Thursday, but that the deal wasn’t yet official.

Friedrich has had an interesting offseason. The Rockies designated him for assignment at the end of January.The Angels claimed him off waivers about a week later, but returned him to the Rockies two weeks after that because of concerns over the lefty’s medical evaluations. Upon return, the Rockies released Friedrich.

Friedrich, 28, was once a top prospect in the Rockies’ system, earning #22 overall honors from Baseball Prospectus and #33 from Baseball America going into the 2010 season. Unfortunately, over 167 1/3 innings in the majors, Friedrich has a 5.81 ERA with a 146/65 K/BB ratio.

The Padres also signed Matt Thornton to a minor league deal on Thursday, and Friedrich will likely join him in the battle for a spot in the club’s bullpen.