02/11/2011 5:13 PM ET
Yankees sign RHPs Luis Ayala, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and Warner Madrigal and INFs Ronnie Belliard adn Eric Chavez to Minor League Contracts
Invite 14 additional players to 2011 Spring Training
The New York Yankees today announced that they have signed right-handed pitchers Luis Ayala, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and Warner Madrigal and infielders Ronnie Belliard and Eric Chavez to minor league contracts with an invitation to Major League spring training. The club has also invited 14 additional players to 2011 Spring Training bringing the total number of invites to 27 (14 pitchers, five infielders, five catchers and three outfielders). The total number of players now scheduled to report is 67.
Ayala, 33, is 29-39 with 18 saves and a 3.67 ERA (390.1IP, 159ER) in 377 career games over parts of six seasons with Montreal (2003-04), Washington (2005-08), New York-NL (2008), Minnesota (2009) and Florida (2009). Since 2003, he is tied for fifth in the National League in wins as a reliever with 28, behind Ryan Madson (35), Guillermo Mota (31), Chad Qualls (30) and Scott Linebrink (29). In 2010, he combined to go 2-10 with a 6.42 ERA (47.2IP, 34ER) and four saves in 36 appearances out of the bullpen with Triple-A Albuquerque of the Dodgers organization, Triple-A Colorado Springs of the Rockies organization and Triple-A Reno of the Diamondbacks organization. Following the season, he helped lead Mexico to the Caribbean World Series title, tossing 5.0 scoreless innings over four relief appearances and recording two saves (0-0, 2H, 1K, 2BB). Ayala was originally signed as a free agent by the Rockies in 1999.
Belliard, 35, has batted .273 (1,377-for-5,045) with 328 doubles, 114 home runs and 601 RBI in 1,484 games over parts of 13 seasons with Milwaukee (1998-2002), Colorado (2003), Cleveland (2004-06), St. Louis (2006), Washington (2007-09) and Los Angeles-NL (2009-10). Among active second basemen, he ranks fourth in doubles, fifth in home runs and RBI and sixth in games played. He recorded 30 or more doubles in seven of eight seasons from 2000-07, including a career-best 48 doubles with the Indians in 2004. In 2010, he played in 82 games with the Dodgers and hit .216 (35-for-162) with 10 doubles, two home runs and 19 RBI, committing just three errors in 36 total chances combined at the first, second and third-base positions. Belliard was originally drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth round of the 1994 First-Year Player Draft.
Chavez, 33, owns a .267 (1,276-for-4,783) career average with 282 doubles, 230 home runs and 787 RBI in 1,320 games over 13 seasons with the Athletics. He leaves the A's organization ranking among the franchise's top 10 in nearly every offensive category: second in doubles (282) and extra base hits (532), third in total bases (2,288), fourth in runs (730), home runs (230), RBI (787), games (1,320), at bats (4,783) and strikeouts (922), fifth in hits (1,276) and seventh in walks (565) and slugging percentage (.478). He won six consecutive AL Gold Glove awards at third base from 2001-06, tying Buddy Bell for the second-most awards by an American Leaguer at the position behind Brooks Robinson (16). In 2010, he was limited to just 33 games (.234, 1HR, 10RBI) after landing on the disabled list on 5/22 with neck spasms. Chavez was originally selected by Oakland in the first round (10th overall pick) of the 1996 First-Year Player Draft.
Colon, 37, is 153-103 with a 4.10 ERA (2,076.2IP, 945ER) in 328 career games (325 starts) over parts of 13 seasons with Cleveland (1997-2002), Montreal (2002), Chicago-AL (2003, '09), Los Angeles-AL (2004-07) and Boston (2008). He last appeared in the Major Leagues with the White Sox in 2009, where he went 3-6 with a 4.19 ERA in 12 starts. In 2005, Colon was voted to the American League All-Star team and was named the league's Cy Young Award winner after going 21-8 with a 3.48 ERA in 33 starts with the Angels. Following the 2010 Major League season, he made seven starts for the Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League and went 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA (37.1IP, 8ER), recording 28 strikeouts with just six walks. Colon was originally signed as a free agent by the Indians in 1993.
Garcia, 34, owns a 133-87 career record with a 4.13 ERA (1,929.2IP, 885ER) in 303 games (302 starts) over parts of 12 seasons with Seattle (1999-2004), Chicago-AL (2004-06, '09-10), Philadelphia (2007) and Detroit (2008). Among all Venezuelan-born pitchers, he ranks first in innings pitched, is tied for first in wins (also Johan Santana) and ranks third in strikeouts (1,390). Since 2001, he owns the fourth-most wins in the American League among active, right-handed pitchers (106), trailing Tim Wakefield (108), John Lackey (116) and Roy Halladay (135). In 2010, he went 12-6 with a 4.64 ERA (157.0IP, 81ER) in 28 starts with the White Sox, marking his most outings in a season since 2006 (33). Garcia was originally signed as a free agent by the Astros in 1993.
Madrigal, 26, went a combined 5-2 with a 3.73 ERA (50.2IP, 21ER) in 35 relief appearances with Triple-A Oklahoma City and Double-A Frisco in the Texas Rangers organization in 2010. He has made 44 Major League appearances (one start) over parts of two seasons (2008-09) with Texas, going 0-2 with a 6.10 ERA (48.2IP, 33ER). He began his professional career as an outfielder, before converting to a pitcher in 2006. Warner was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Angels in 2001.
LHP Manuel Banuelos, 19, combined to go 0-4 with a 2.51 ERA (64.2IP, 18ER) in 15 starts with the GCL Yankees, Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton in 2010. He spent the majority of the year with Tampa, where he went 0-3 with a 2.23 ERA (44.1IP, 11ER), recording 62 strikeouts in 10 starts. Following the season, he made seven starts with the Phoenix Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League, going 0-2 with a 3.60 ERA and started in the 2010 AFL Rising Stars Game (2.0IP, 1ER, 2K). Banuelos enters the 2011 season tabbed by Baseball America as the Yankees' fourth-best prospect and top left-handed pitcher. He was signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 2008.
OF Daniel Brewer, 23, batted .270 (137-for-508) with 34 doubles, 10 home runs, 84 RBI and 29 stolen bases in 136 games with Double-A Trenton in 2010. He recorded the second-most RBI among all Yankees minor league hitters in 2010 and the fifth-most stolen bases. Brewer was selected by the Yankees in the eighth round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
C Jose Gil, 24, combined to hit .247 (61-for-247) with 10 doubles, 10 home runs and 44 RBI in 71 games with Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton in 2010. Following the season, played in 25 games with the Caribes de Anzoategui of the Venezuelan Winter League and hit .247 (19-for-77) with six doubles, two home runs and 12 RBI. Gil was signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 2003.
C Kyle Higashioka, 20, played the entire 2010 season with Single-A Charleston and batted. .225 (72-for-320) with 18 doubles, six home runs and 24 RBI in 90 games. He hit .192 (41-for-213) prior to the All-Star break, compared to .290 (31-for-107) during the second half of the season. He also committed just six errors in 479 total chances at the catcher position. Higashioka was the Yankees' seventh round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
OF Austin Krum, 25, played in 120 games with Double-A Trenton in 2010, batting .229 (105-for-459) with 17 doubles, five home runs and 44 RBI. He played in seven games for the Thunder during the 2010 playoffs and hit .296 (8-for-27) with three doubles, two RBI and three stolen bases, leading all Eastern League postseason players in both doubles and stolen bases. Krum was selected by the Yankees in the ninth round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.
RHP D.J. Mitchell, 23, spent the majority of the 2010 season with Double-A Trenton where he went 11-4 with a 4.06 ERA (133.0IP, 60ER) in 23 games (22 starts), holding batters to a .183 (26-for-142) batting average with runners in scoring position. A midseason All-Star in the Eastern League, Mitchell was promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on August 23 where he made one postseason start, but did not record a decision (5.0IP, 4R, 3ER, 8H, 2BB, 4K, 1HR). He was selected by the Yankees in the 10th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft and is attending his second consecutive spring camp.
C Jesus Montero, 21, enters the 2011 season ranked by Baseball America as the Yankees' top prospect and the fifth-best prospect in all of baseball (top catcher). He played in 123 games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2010 and batted .289 (131-for-453) with 34 doubles, three triples, 21 home runs and 75 RBI. An International League midseason and postseason All-Star, Montero ranked third in the league in extra-base hits (58), tied for third in doubles and ranked fifth in slugging percentage (.577) and total bases (.234). Among all Yankees minor league hitters in 2010, Montero ranked second in home runs, tied for second in batting average and ranked fourth in RBI. He was also tabbed by Baseball America as the organization's "Best Hitter for Average" and "Best Power Hitter" and was named the organization's top prospect by the Sporting News. Montero was signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 2006.
OF Jordan Parraz, 26, owns a .289 (672-for-2,324) career batting average with 147 doubles, 54 home runs and 325 RBI in 634 minor league games in the Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals organizations. In 2010, he played the entire season with Triple-A Omaha (KC), batting .266 (115-for-432) with 58 runs, 27 doubles, 11 home runs and 61 RBI in 123 games. Following the season, he played with La Guaira in the Venezuelan Winter League, batting .306 (22-for-72) in 25 games. Parraz was originally selected by Houston in the third round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft.
RHP David Phelps, 24, combined to go 10-2 with a 2.50 ERA (158.2IP, 44ER) in 26 games (25 starts) with Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2010. At the time of his promotion from Trenton to Scranton/WB on July 2, he led the Eastern League in strikeouts (84) and ranked second in ERA (2.04), earning a spot on the league's midseason All-Star team. Among all Yankees farmhands in 2010, he ranked second in strikeouts (141) and third in ERA. Following the season, he was ranked by Baseball America as having the organization's "Best Curveball." Phelps was selected by the Yankees in the 14th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
C Austin Romine, 22, enters the 2011 season ranked by Baseball America as the sixth-best prospect and the "Best Defensive Catcher" in the Yankees organization. He played the entire 2010 season with Double-A Trenton and batted .268 (122-for-455) with 31 doubles, 10 home runs and 69 RBI in 115 games, earning a spot on the Eastern League's midseason All-Star team. He also committed just five errors in 853 total chances (99.4% fielding percentage). Following the season, Romine played in 16 games with the Phoenix Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League, batting .279 (17-for-61) with three doubles and seven RBI. He was selected by the Yankees in the second round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.
INF Bradley Suttle, 25, played the entire 2010 season with Single-A Tampa and batted .272 (140-for-514) with 33 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs and 80 RBI in 133 games. He ranked second in the league in RBI, fourth in hits and fifth in doubles and led all Florida State League third basemen with a .951 fielding percentage. Suttle hit .304 (7-for-23) with three home runs, nine RBI and two stolen bases for the FSL Champions during the postseason, leading all league postseason batters in home runs and RBI. Suttle was selected by the Yankees in the fourth round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.
INF Jorge Vazquez, 28, combined to hit .284 (95-for-334) with 25 doubles, 18 home runs and 68 RBI in 86 games with Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2010, ranking fourth among all Yankees minor league hitters in home runs. Following the season, he helped lead Mexico to the Caribbean World Series title, garnering MVP honors after hitting .310 (9-for-29) with two home runs and six RBI in six games. Vazquez was signed by the Yankees as a free agent in 2008 after spending the previous 10 years in the Mexican League.
RHP Adam Warren, 23, combined to go 11-7 with a 2.59 ERA (135.1IP, 39ER) in 25 starts with Single-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton in 2010, allowing three runs or less in 19 of his outings. He was named to the Florida State League midseason All-Star team and was tabbed as the Eastern League "Pitcher of the Week" for the period ending on 8/22, after recording a Trenton franchise-record 15 strikeouts in seven shutout innings on August 18 vs. Bowie. He has combined to go 15-9 with a 2.25 ERA (192.0IP, 48ER) with 176 strikeouts and only 43 walks over his first two professional seasons (2009-10). Warren was selected by the Yankees in the fourth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
RHP Eric Wordekemper, 27, went a combined 5-0 with nine saves and a 3.00 ERA (66.0IP, 22ER) in 47 appearances out of the bullpen with Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2010. Following the season, he appeared in 21 games for the Tomateros de Culiacan of the Mexican Pacific League and did not record a decision, recording 19 strikeouts in 19.1IP in relief (13ER). Wordekemper was selected by the Yankees in the 46th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft.