Orioles sign LaPorta to minor league deal

Jack Cust will have some company at Twin Lakes Park.

The Orioles have signed former first-round pick Matt LaPorta, 29, to a minor league deal. It does not include an invitation to spring training.

The Milwaukee Brewers made LaPorta the seventh overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Florida, but he never met expectations and didn’t play in the majors last season.

The Cleveland Indians acquired LaPorta on July 7, 2008 as part of the CC Sabathia trade. In parts of four major league seasons, he batted .238/.301/.393 with 31 homers and 120 RBIs in 291 games and 1,068 plate appearances.

In 2012, LaPorta batted .241/.267/.328 with one home run in 22 games with the Indians. He spent most of 2013 at Triple-A Columbus, batting .238/.310/.476 with 10 homers and 28 RBIs in 44 games.

LaPorta, a right-handed hitter, is a first baseman and corner outfielder.

Meanwhile, executive vice president Dan Duquette remains optimistic that he will be able to sign a veteran starting pitcher before spring training.

Duquette, calling into tonight’s “Hot Stove Baseball” show on WBAL Radio, noted that “four or five teams” share interest in the same pitchers. He didn’t offer up names, but the Orioles are making a strong push for veteran right-hander Bronson Arroyo.

As I wrote earlier today, Arroyo may have bypassed A.J. Burnett as the Orioles’ primary target. At least, that’s the vibe that I’m getting from a respectable distance.

Orioles minor league pitcher Jon Keller caused some confusion earlier tonight when he tweeted, “Yoon just arrived in Sarasota. I couldn’t be happier #Korea #YOOOON”

Keller was referring to Korean left-hander Jung-hyun Yoon, who signed with the Orioles in August. Not Suk-min Yoon, the Korean right-hander who has drawn serious interest from the club and worked out for them last weekend.

Keller quickly tweeted, “Different Yoon, guys.. Sorry for the let down”

He followed up with, “Haha my bad! Didn’t mean to rile everyone up”

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