Blue Jays sign reliever Soriano to Minors deal

Vet, joining crowded bullpen mix, to attend Major League camp

Blue Jays sign reliever Soriano to Minors deal

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon added yet another arm to their bullpen mix by signing veteran right-hander Rafael Soriano to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training.

Soriano is expected to report to Dunedin in the near future, and he will enter a crowded bullpen group. Drew Storen, Roberto Osuna, Brett Cecil and likely Aaron Loup have guaranteed jobs, but after that, the club has some difficult decisions to make.

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Jesse Chavez and Gavin Floyd are technically competing for the final spot in the starting rotation, but will both probably end up in the bullpen. That leaves one spot up for grabs from a group that includes Ryan Tepera, Steve Delabar, Arnold Leon, David Aardsma and now Soriano.

Soriano had a delayed start to the 2015 season after holding out to find a lucrative deal on the open market. An expensive contract never really surfaced for him, and it wasn't until June that he signed an incentive-laden pact with the Cubs.

The 36-year-old went on to make just six appearances for the Cubs and allowed four runs over 5 2/3 innings. He was eventually designated for assignment and did not return to the Major Leagues. Soriano might be considered a long shot to make the Blue Jays' team out of camp, but a strong showing could earn him some consideration.

Soriano has posted a 2.89 ERA and 207 saves -- including a league-high 45 in 2010 -- with six clubs in his 14-year career.

Leg kicks all around: It seems like everybody around camp this year is talking about leg kicks. Jose Bautista has been using one in his batting stance for years, and over time, Josh Donaldson has followed suit with a similar approach. Kevin Pillar began to incorporate one last season, while Chris Colabello and now Troy Tulowitzki do it as well.

"A lot of similarities with Colabello and Donaldson," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Those guys are always talking hitting. There are some mechanical things, they really rely on their teammates, [and private hitting instructor Bobby] Tewksbary has been with those two guys early on. They bounce things off each other, they're experimenting with it, and it's kind of cool to see.

"The other day, I had to do some interview thing late, and I heard some noise in the cage and there must have been 10 guys in there. Donaldson had [Domonic] Brown over there working in the cage. I hadn't seen that before, I hadn't seen that anywhere before. They all help coach each other, and that's the ideal situation. But you don't see that too often."

Loup dealing with soreness: Loup has been dealing with tightness in his left forearm and will take it easy over the next few days until the discomfort subsides. Forearm injuries are always concerning for pitchers, but this one is supposed to be relatively minor. According to the club, it shouldn't be an issue in the future. For now, though, the Blue Jays want to remain cautious.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.