ATLANTA -- A little more than 13 months after signing a two-year, $9.5 million contract to serve as the Cubs' closer, Jose Veras will come to Braves Spring Training with nothing but the guarantee to be given a shot to prove he is still capable of being a valuable Major League reliever.
The Braves were happy to provide Veras a Minor League deal and a Spring Training invite on Tuesday night. The 34-year-old right-hander will be one of the 33 pitchers (11 non-roster invitees) Atlanta will bring to Spring Training.
Veras' deal was revealed a few hours after it was learned that former All-Star closer Matt Capps had also agreed to come to Braves camp with a non-guaranteed contract. But while Capps seems to be a long shot to gain a roster spot, Veras could certainly begin the season in Atlanta's bullpen.
After accepting the lucrative deal with the Cubs, Veras posted an 8.10 ERA over 12 appearances, and he was released. The Astros signed the veteran reliever five days later, and they watched him produce a 3.03 ERA while limiting opponents to a .203 batting average over 34 appearances.
The Braves pursued Veras per the advice of third-base coach Bo Porter and director of player development Dave Trembley. When Veras arrived in Houston last year, Porter was his manager and Trembley served as the Astros' bench coach.
If Veras picks up where he left off last year, he could begin the season teaming with Jason Grilli, Shae Simmons and Jim Johnson as the primary setup men for closer Craig Kimbrel. Veras' presence also provides some insurance in the event that Simmons has not yet completely overcome the shoulder issues that sidelined him for the final two months of the 2014 season.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.