The list of potential Albuquerque Isotopes for the upcoming season grew longer on Wednesday night.
Five more minor-league free agents joined the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, including three with past major-league experience.
Infielders Rusty Ryal and Omar Luna, outfielder Jeremy Moore and left-handers Fabio Castro and Wilmin Rodriguez agreed to contracts for the upcoming season. All of the moves were reported by Baseball America's Matt Eddy on Twitter.
Castro, who will turn 28 later this month, appeared in 30 games with Texas and Philadelphia in 2006-07. He was 0-1 with a 3.30 ERA and one save. Castro split the 2012 season between Triple-A Sacramento (Athletics) and Double-A Midland, going 5-14 with a 5.60 ERA in 28 games (23 starts).
The odds favor Castro joining the Isotopes' starting rotation, where only Stephen Fife (11-7, 4.66 ERA) is expected to return from last year's squad.
Rodriguez, 27, joins a long list of pitchers who will compete for spots in the Albuquerque bullpen. He had spent his entire career with the Giants organization, going 5-5 with a 5.92 ERA in 37 games (three starts) with Triple-A Fresno last season. Rodriguez gave up four unearned runs in one-third of an inning against the Isotopes back on May 24.
Ryal, 29, joins an equally crowded list of infielders. He appeared in 134 games for the Diamondbacks in 2009-10, batting .263/.318/.402 as a utility player. After playing in Japan in 2011, Ryal split 2012 between Reno (Diamondbacks) and Gwinnett (Braves), batting a combined .257/.294/.384 with six home runs and 41 RBI. He saw time at second base, third base and the outfield.
Luna, 26, is another utility player who saw time at third base, second base, shortstop and the outfield in 2012 with Double-A Montgomery (Rays). Luna hit .315/.369/.389 with three home runs, 57 RBI and added 19 stolen bases. Due to his limited Triple-A experience — 96 games at Durham (Rays) in 2010-11 — Luna could join Double-A Chattanooga, taking the roster spot of free agent Luis Nunez.
Moore, 25, is a former Angel who appeared in eight games in the Majors back in 2011. He missed all of 2012 after hip surgery; the Angels subsequently dropped him from their 40-man roster, enabling Moore to become a free agent. In his last healthy season, Moore hit .298/.331/.545 with 18 triples, 15 home runs, 66 RBI and 21 stolen bases with Salt Lake in 2011.
The other infielders expected to compete for an Isotopes roster spot are holdovers Elian Herrera, Dee Gordon, Ozzie Martinez and Justin Sellers, plus Chattanooga's Rafael Ynoa, and off-season additions Nick Evans, Elevys Gonzalez, Dallas McPherson and Miguel Rojas.
The Albuquerque outfield pool has returning players Matt Angle, Alex Castellanos, Brian Cavazos-Galvez, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Scott Van Slyke, plus Chattanooga's Nick Buss, Kyle Russell and Blake Smith.
The bullpen candidates include holdovers Michale Antonini, Blake Johnson, Cole St. Clair, Luis Vasquez and Josh Wall; Chattanooga's Geison Aguasviva, Steve Ames, Red Patterson, Javier Solano and Chris Withrow; and off-season additions Juan Abreu, Hector Correa, Kelvin de la Cruz, Greg Infante and Hector Nelo.
Around the Lab
- Veteran lefty reliever Erick Threets, who was a combined 6-4 with a 2.79 ERA and four saves for the Isotopes and Sacramento last season, has signed a minor-league deal with the Colorado Rockies.
- The Dodgers invited 13 players to a special mini-camp in Arizona set for next week. Moore was among the invitees, along with Isotopes catcher Tim Federowicz and a number of other top prospects. Last season, eight of the 15 players invited to the camp eventually appeared in Los Angeles.