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02/02/07 6:14 PM ET

O's sign Shuey to Minor League deal

Relief pitcher gets non-roster invite to Spring Training

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles announced on Friday that they've signed reliever Paul Shuey to a Minor League contract with a non-roster invitation to Spring Training. Shuey hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2003 and hasn't pitched at all since 2005, when he threw two innings for Double-A Akron before retiring due to persistent pain in his right hip.

Shuey spent most of his career with the Cleveland Indians, but he also spent a year and a half with the Los Angeles Dodgers at the end of his run in the Majors. He pitched in the playoffs four times -- all for Cleveland -- and retired with a 45-27 record and a 3.57 ERA, which was more than a run less below the league average for that timespan.

The right-hander pitched at least 50 innings in seven of his last eight seasons and logged more strikeouts (534) than innings (504 1/3) for his career. Shuey worked a career-high 72 games in 1999 and struck out 103 batters in 81 2/3 innings. His best season was probably in 2001, when he pitched 47 games and finished with a 2.82 ERA.

The beginning of the end came in 2004, when Shuey spent the entire season on the disabled list with an injured right thumb. He attempted a comeback in 2005 and retired on April 27 of that season.

The 36-year-old may be back and healthy, but he'll be facing an uphill battle. Baltimore has spent more than $40 million on its bullpen this offseason, and one of the last spots will likely be reserved for Hayden Penn, one of the team's top pitching prospects. Shuey will be competing against Penn, Todd Williams and several other relievers.

The Orioles have now invited 24 non-roster players to their Spring Training camp in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Pitchers and catchers are due in Florida on Feb. 14, and the team's first coordinated workout will take place the following day.

In other news, Baltimore also added another game to its exhibition schedule. The Orioles will play a split-squad game against the Washington Nationals on March 28 -- the last day in Florida for both teams. Following that game, the natural rivals will play each other on consecutive days in Columbus, Ohio, Norfolk, Va., and Washington's RFK Stadium.

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