Blue Jays sign Al Alburquerque to minor league deal

 The Toronto Blue Jays have signed veteran reliever Al Alburquerque to a minor league contract. Photo Credit: USA Today Sports

The Toronto Blue Jays have signed veteran reliever Al Alburquerque to a minor league contract. Photo Credit: USA Today Sports

By Andrew Hendriks

Canadian Baseball Network

TORONTO - On Thursday, the Toronto Blue Jays and free-agent reliever Al Alburquerque came to terms on a minor league contract that comes with an invite to spring training next month.

Although the majority of his time was spent at the triple-A level in 2017, Alburquerque, 31, appeared in 21 games split between the Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox. In all, he pitched to an ERA of 2.50 while striking out 14 and walking eight batters over 18 major league innings.

The veteran of seven major league seasons joins the Blue Jays organization after posting a tidy 3.16 ERA to go along with a WHIP of 1.314 and an overall SO/9 of 10.7 across 245 innings since making his debut as 25-year-old with the Detroit Tigers in 2011.

With a repertoire highlighted by his wipeout slider, the right-handed product of San Pedro de Macoris, D.R. also throws a changeup and primarily works off of a four-seam fastball that lives around 94 mph and can generate a high level of ground balls thanks to its impressive sinking action.

We can expect Albuquerque to compete with fellow righties Ryan Tepera, Dominic Leone, Danny Barnes and Carlos Ramirez as management looks to nail down a capable setup man for Roberto Osuna this spring.

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Andrew Hendriks

Born in southern Ontario during the late 1980's, Hendriks had a front row seat to watch the Blue Jays reach the pinnacle in '92/'93 as a child, an experience that only bolstered this Canadian's love for the "American Game." Having played since before his memory allows access too, his passion for Baseball grew over years of emulating his heroes on the local sandlots, memorizing the backs of chewing gum scented cards and travelling across North America to experience as many aspects of the game as possible. In 2009, Hendriks began volunteering at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame as a Weekend Tour Guide. By 2010, he was hired on to help curate for the museum & Instruct the fundamentals of the game along side such legends as Tony Fernandez, Roberto Alomar and Jim Fanning during the Hall's annual Kids On Deck program. Following the 2011 season, Hendriks began blogging and co-hosting a weekly podcast for www.BackInBlue.ca, a Blue Jays themed website ran by fans, for fans. Looking to continue connecting with baseball fans across the country, Hendriks is excited to join such a strong team at the Canadian Baseball Network and looks forward to chipping in.