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12/30/2008 3:19 PM ET
Jays sign four to Minor League contracts
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The Toronto Blue Jays have signed catchers Michael Barrett an Raul Chavez, infielder Randy Ruiz and left-hander Mike Maroth to Minor League contracts and extended invitations for all to attend Spring Training with the Major League club.

Barrett, 32, has signed a one-year Minor League contract with a club option for the 2010 season. Last season, he appeared in only 30 games for the San Diego Padres due to injuries and posted a .202 average with three doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs. The 6-3, 215 lb. right-handed hitter captured Silver Slugger honors in 2005 with the Cubs after hitting .276 with 32 doubles, 16 home runs and 61 RBIs. The Atlanta, Ga., native is a career .264 hitter with 220 doubles, 21 triples and 97 home runs with 422 RBIs over 1,047 games in 11 seasons while playing for the Montreal Expos (1998-2003), Chicago Cubs (2004-07) and San Diego Padres (2007-08).

Chavez, 35, spent the 2008 season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, appearing in 42 games and batting .259 with four doubles, a home run and 10 RBIs. The Valencia, Venezuela native also threw out 12 of 25 base stealers last season (48 percent). The 5-11, 235 lb. right-handed-hitting catcher also appeared in 26 games for Triple-A Indianapolis, where he batted .306 with five doubles, three home runs and 13 RBIs in 26 games. In parts of 10 Major League seasons, he has hit .223 in 212 games with 19 doubles, five home runs and 50 RBIs.

Maroth, 31, appeared in three Minor League games last season for Triple-A Omaha before missing the rest of the season due to injury. In those three games, all starts, he posted an 0-2 record with a 12.91 ERA. The 6-0, 190 lb. native of Orlando, Fla., has a career record of 50-67 with a 5.05 ERA over six seasons. In those seasons, the left-hander made 150 starts and appeared in 161 games while pitching for Detroit (2002-07) and St. Louis (2007).

Ruiz made his Major League debut with Minnesota in 2008, appearing in 22 games and batting .274 with a home run and seven RBIs. The 31 year old right-handed hitter spent most of the season with Triple-A Rochester, where he led the league with a .320 batting average in 111 games with 33 doubles, 17 home runs and 68 RBIs. The 6-3, 235 lb. native of Bronx, N.Y., spent nine seasons in the Minors before his debut last season and is a career .303 hitter in the Minors with 167 home runs.

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