Orioles sign Juan Francisco to minor league deal

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles are on a roll with signing players to minor league deals. The camp roster has room and they’re intent on filling it.

Infield depth remains a priority and the Orioles addressed it again tonight by signing Juan Francisco to a minor league contract that includes an invitation to spring training, according to multiple sources.

Francisco, 29, hasn’t played in the majors since appearing in 106 games with the Blue Jays in 2014, hitting 16 home runs but also striking out 116 times in 287 at-bats. He’s a career .236/.297/.439 hitter in parts of six seasons with the Reds, Braves, Brewers and Jays.

Orioles bags.jpgThe Red Sox selected Francisco off waivers from the Jays in November 2014, the Rays signed him as a free agent in January 2015 and they released him three months later.

Francisco appeared in five games with the Yomiuri Giants of the Japan Central League in 2015 and four games with Tigres del Licey in the Dominican Winter League.

Signed by the Reds as an amateur free agent in 2004, Francisco has made 161 starts at third base and 77 at first in the majors. He’s also made a combined 21 starts in left field in the minors and Dominican Winter League.

Francisco abandoned switch-hitting in 2009 and bats exclusively from the left side.

The Orioles also signed corner infielder Chris Johnson to a minor league contract this week and added middle infielders Johnny Giavotella and Robert Andino before arriving in Sarasota.

Francisco’s signing was first reported by baseball analyst Mibelt Rodriguez.

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