Orioles reach agreement with Villarreal on minor league deal

Following up on a tweet that I sent out earlier today, the Orioles have reached agreement on a minor league deal with right-hander Oscar Villarreal that includes a spring training invitation.

Villarreal, 30, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2008 with the Houston Astros. He’s 24-15 with a 3.86 ERA in parts of six seasons, including stops in Arizona and Atlanta. He’s made only five starts among his 258 appearances.

Villarreal was 9-1 with a 3.61 ERA in 58 games, including four starts, with the Braves in 2006. He missed the entire 2009 season after undergoing ligament-reconstruction surgery in his right elbow. He signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers in December 2010 and began the season in Triple-A Albuquerque, but Los Angeles loaned him to the Sultanes de Monterrey of the Mexican League.

Shifting topics here, I spoke briefly with Brady Anderson after serving as emcee for “A Night With Buck Showalter” at Sports Legends Museum, with the proceeds benefiting the Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation and KidsPeace, a private charity dedicated to serving the behavioral and mental health needs of children, preadolescents and teens. Anderson, who has been hired by the Orioles as an assistant to executive vice president Dan Duquette, joined us for a Q&A session.

Anderson said his duties won’t change much simply because he’s been given a title.

“Since Dan was hired, we’ve been working pretty closely together, and obviously he and Buck know what I’m doing and who I’m with,” Anderson said. “Dan wants me to implement a strength/training program throughout the system and see that it’s carried out properly.

“As far as day to day, it doesn’t change that much to me. I’m going to be here for the mini-camp and go back and train the guys in California. I’m going to be working a lot more closely with the GM and with Buck. I’ve already been doing things.”

It’s a unique position in baseball, given his responsibilities in the front office as well as the training aspect.

“That’s really what I like about it,” he said. “The media constantly wants to know my role. It’s an ongoing topic and I don’t know why, really. I was clear that what I was doing was sanctioned from the top. Everybody from the owner to the GM to the manager knew and asked me to do things. I didn’t really care if I had a title. My true joy is making players better and helping to make the Orioles better, and I know I have the tools to do that. I’m going to use them and not be dissuaded on things I firmly believe in. I’ll continue to do what I do best.”

Shifting topics one more time, reliever Kevin Gregg can’t attend FanFest on Saturday because of flooding in his house in Oregon.

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