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Rays sign ex-Cards closer Isringhausen

Posted Feb 20, 2009 by Marc Lancaster

Updated Feb 20, 2009 at 09:44 PM

The Rays have signed former Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen to a minor-league contract. He is expected in camp Saturday morning.

Updating, 7:45: Isringhausen, who has 293 career saves after stints finishing games in St. Louis and Oakland, suffered through a disappointing, injury-marred year with the Cardinals in 2008. He went 1-5 with a 5.70 ERA and lost his ninth-inning role. He didn’t pitch after Aug. 16 and underwent surgery in September to repair a torn flexor tendon.

Isringhausen, who lives in Tampa, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch earlier this week that his elbow “doesn’t hurt at all.” He has been throwing bullpen sessions on his own and the Rays believe he will definitely be ready to pitch in spring training games, even if they decide to ease him in a bit.

The 36-year-old will provide further bullpen depth for the Rays, and if healthy should serve as a handy insurance policy for closer Troy Percival.

Updating, 8:45: The value of Isringhausen’s deal will be based largely on how often he pitches and in what situations. It sounds like he could clear $2 million with frequent appearances in 2009, and bump up even higher than that if he ends up in a closing role and accumulates a lot of games finished.

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