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Orioles sign Banks to Minor League contract

Orioles sign Banks to Minor League contract

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Orioles sign Banks to Minor League contract
SARASOTA, Fla. -- In a continuing effort to beef up their pitching staff, the Orioles signed journeyman Josh Banks to a Minor League contract Tuesday.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette met briefly with Banks' agent, former player Gary Sheffield, at the Ed Smith Stadium Complex, and Banks departed for the team's Minor League facility at Twin Lakes Park shortly after to throw in front of director of player personnel John Stockstill.

"He's a local kid," Duquette said of Banks, who is from Severna Park, Md. "He went and pitched effectively in winter ball and showed that he was healthy."

The 29-year-old Banks last pitched in the Dominican Winter League, and given the Orioles' current pitching situation -- they have 29 hurlers in camp and are trying to foster competition and depth -- Duquette said Sheffield reached out to him because he "saw an opportunity" with Baltimore.

Originally drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the second round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, Banks had the most success with the Padres in '08, putting together a stretch of 22 consecutive scoreless innings. He has bounced around in the Minors the past two seasons, most recently with the Giants, who released him during the season, and is 4-8 with a 5.66 ERA in 27 big league games.

Sheffield, who was originally signed by Duquette as a scout for the Brewers, represents a handful of players, including pitcher Jason Grilli, and said Banks is the final player of his to sign.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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