Orioles nearing agreement with Ayala (agreement in place)

SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette continues to keep close watch on the waiver wire, and he's on the verge of signing a reliever discarded yesterday by the Nationals.

The Orioles are nearing an agreement with veteran right-hander Luis Ayala, according to sources. An announcement could come later today, after final details are worked out.

I'm just confirming multiple reports here. Was worth a check.

FOXSports.com first reported that the Orioles made an offer to Ayala.

Ayala, 36, struggled mightily with the Nats this spring. In six innings, he allowed nine runs and 10 hits and posted a 2.000 WHIP.

The Orioles are referencing back to 2012, when Ayala went 5-5 with a 2.64 ERA in 66 games for them. He appeared in only two games in 2013 before being dealt to the Braves for left-hander Chris Jones, who was released on Feb. 28 and re-signed to a minor league contract a few days later.

Ayala was 1-1 with a 2.90 ERA in 37 games with the Braves. He went on the disabled list in late April with an anxiety disorder reportedly linked to high blood pressure.

The Orioles have plenty of right-handed relief candidates, but Duquette always is looking to improve the club's pitching depth. Ayala could sign a split contract with an opt-out clause. We'll soon find out.

Update: The Orioles and Ayala have an agreement on a split contract. Depth move here.

Tommy Hunter currently projects as the closer. Darren O'Day and Ryan Webb can work in setup roles, and non-roster right-hander Evan Meek has allowed one baserunner in six spring innings, on a hit batter.

Alfredo Aceves, another non-roster right-hander, also remains in camp and is scheduled to pitch tonight against the Pirates in Bradenton. Brad Brach has allowed two runs and struck out seven in 6 1/3 innings.

Edgmer Escalona figured to compete for a bullpen spot, but he's shelved with right shoulder tendinitis and will begin the season on the disabled list after making only one appearance this spring.

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