Blue Jays agree to minor-league deal with reliever Jake Petricka

Jake Petricka. (Paul Beaty/AP)

The Toronto Blue Jays added an established but oft-injured reliever Thursday, signing right-hander Jake Petricka to a minor-league deal that includes an invitation to MLB spring training.

The 29-year-old will earn $1.3 million if he makes the major leagues with an additional $500,000 available in incentives, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation, who first reported the deal.

When healthy, Petricka has been an effective reliever at the MLB level. He relies heavily on a fastball that averaged 94.2 m.p.h. in 2017, and his primary off-speed pitch is his change-up. From 2014-15 that combination helped him post a 3.24 ERA over 129 appearances for the Chicago White Sox, but in recent years injuries have kept him off the field, and the White Sox non-tendered him in December.

In June of 2016, Petricka had surgery to repair a labral tear in his right hip and didn’t pitch again that year. This past season, he was limited to 27 appearances due to lat and elbow injuries. All told he posted a 7.01 ERA in 2017 with six home runs allowed in 25.2 innings. Despite those unsightly numbers, he struck out 26 while walking just six.

After the season, Petricka had a nerve transposition in his right elbow and had his right flexor tendon debrided. At the time he was expected to start throwing in three or four months.

The Blue Jays’ projected bullpen includes Roberto Osuna, Ryan Tepera, Danny Barnes and Aaron Loup. Other candidates for relief roles include Petricka, Al Alburquerque, Rhiner Cruz, Matt Dermody, Tim Mayza and Carlos Ramirez.

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