Pirates sign Vince Velasquez in hopes of bolstering rotation

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Pirates signed right-handed pitcher Vince Velasquez to a one-year, $3.15 million contract 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 Jose 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.

O’Day retires following 15 seasons for 6 major league teams

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ATLANTA (AP) Right-hander Darren O'Day, who posted a 4.15 ERA in 28 games with the Atlanta Braves in 2022, announced Monday he is retiring after 15 seasons for six teams in the major leagues.

O’Day said on his Twitter account “it’s finally time to hang ’em up.”

“The mental, physical and time demands have finally outweighed my love for the game,” O’Day said.

O’Day, 40, featured an unconventional sidearm delivery. He was 42-21 with a 2.59 ERA in 644 games, all in relief. He made his major league debut in 2008 with the Angels and pitched seven seasons, from 2012-18, for the Baltimore Orioles.

He posted a 4.43 ERA in 30 postseason games, including the 2010 World Series with the Texas Rangers.

O’Day also pitched for the New York Mets and New York Yankees. He pitched for the Braves in 2019-20 before returning for his second stint with the team last season. He became a free agent following the season.

He set a career high with six saves for Baltimore in 2015, when he was 6-2 with a 1.52 ERA and was an AL All-Star.