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Roundup: Phillies sign Chad Durbin, Yuniesky Betancourt

Photo: /USA Today Sports

Chad Durbin was a key part of the Phillies' World Series title team of 2008.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Looking to fortify their bullpen, the Philadelphia Phillies turned to a familiar face.

A person familiar with the deals says the Phillies have agreed with veteran reliever Chad Durbin on a one-year contract. Durbin returns to Philadelphia where he played a key role in the bullpen on the 2008 World Series championship team.

The deal reached on Monday is pending a physical, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team didn't make an official announcement.

Durbin was 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA in a career-high 76 games for Atlanta last season.

The righty was 5-4 with a career-best 2.87 ERA in 71 appearances with the Phillies in `08. He left Philadelphia after the 2010 season and posted a 5.53 ERA in Cleveland in 2011 before returning to the NL with the Braves.

The 34-year-old Durbin is 42-47 with a 4.95 ERA in 440 games over 13 seasons with six teams.

Durbin is expected to pitch in middle relief. The Phillies signed Mike Adams to fill the setup role in front of closer Jonathan Papelbon.

Durbin gives manager Charlie Manuel another veteran option in a bullpen that struggled last year. The Phillies had a tough time protecting leads before Papelbon entered in the ninth. Their 4.89 ERA in the eighth was next-to-last in the majors, and they allowed a league-worst 24 home runs in the inning.

With Papelbon, Adams, Durbin and lefty Antonio Bastardo filling four spots, the Phillies enter spring training with three openings in their bullpen. Youngsters Phillippe Aumont, Justin De Fratus, Mike Stutes and Jake Diekman along with Jeremy Horst and Raul Valdes will be among those competing to make the roster.

The Phillies also agreed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to major league spring training with infielder Yuniesky Betancourt.

The 30-year-old Betancourt hit .228 with 14 doubles, seven home runs and 36 RBIs in 57 games with Kansas City last season. He played 46 games at second base, eight at third base and one at shortstop.

Betancourt has a .266 average with 203 doubles, 28 triples, 67 homers and 411s RBI in eight seasons with Seattle, Kansas City and Milwaukee.

Cardinals sign Ronny Cedeno

ST. LOUIS (AP) Infielder Ronny Cedeno has agreed to a $1.15 million, one-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, giving them insurance in case shortstop Rafael Furcal has problems returning from an elbow injury that sidelined him late last season.

Cedeno can earn an additional $850,000 in performance bonuses under Monday's deal: $170,000 each for 200, 250, 300, 250 and 400 plate appearances.

The 29-year-old Cedeno batted .259 with four homers and 22 RBIs last year for the New York Mets. An eight-year big league veteran, he has a .247 career average for the Chicago Cubs, Seattle, Pittsburgh and the Mets and was the Pirates' starting shortstop in 2010 and 2011.

At the team's fan festival last week, both general manager John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny said they thought the team would enter spring training with no serious health issues. Rookie Pete Kozma started at shortstop the final month of the season and in the postseason.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Cardinals designated left-handed pitcher Barret Browning for assignment.

St. Louis also agreed to minor league contracts with catchers Rob Johnson and J.R. Towles and outfielder Justin Christian, and hired former catcher Bengie Molina as assistant hitting coach. He is the older brother of Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.

The Cardinals invited 16 non-roster players to training camp, including outfielder Oscar Taveras and right-hander Seth Maness, their minor league player and pitcher of the year. Pitchers and catchers report to Jupiter, Fla., on Feb. 11, with the first full-squad workout Feb. 15.

Yankees bring back Juan Rivera

NEW YORK (AP) Juan Rivera has agreed to a minor league contract with the New York Yankees.

The 34-year-old outfielder and first baseman, who played for the Yankees from 2001-03, hit .244 with nine homers and 47 RBIs last year for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

New York planned to announce the agreement later this week along with the deals for Matt Diaz and others who will go to spring training with minor league contracts.

Gregerson, Padres reach deal

SAN DIEGO (AP) Luke Gregerson's agent says the pitcher has agreed to a $3.2 million, one-year contract with the San Diego Padres.

Tom O'Connell announced the deal Monday on his Twitter account.

Gregerson was 2-0 with a 2.39 ERA in 77 relief appearances last season, striking out 72 in 71 1-3 innings. He made $1.55 million.

The 28-year-old right-hander had asked for $3.75 million in arbitration and had been offered $2,875,000.

Two Padres remain in arbitration: third baseman Chase Headley and left-hander Clayton Richard. Hearings before three-person panels are scheduled for next month in Phoenix.

Red Sox' Kalish needs surgery

BOSTON (AP) Boston Red Sox outfielder Ryan Kalish will have surgery on his right shoulder. He is expected to miss spring training.

Dr. Lewis Yocum will perform the operation on Tuesday, the team said.

Kalish missed much of last season recovering from surgery on his left shoulder. He batted .229 with zero homers and five RBIs in 36 games for the Red Sox.

The team has signed former outfielder Ryan Sweeney to a minor-league deal.

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