Rays sign Choi, five others

Rays sign Choi, five others

ST. PETERSBURG -- Hee-Seop Choi highlights the list of six players the Devil Rays have signed to Minor League deals that include invitations to Major League Spring Training.

Joining Choi on the list are right-handed pitchers Steve Andrade and Tony Peguero, infielder Jorge Velandia, outfielder Dustan Mohr and catcher Yamid Haad.

Choi, 27, has a .240 career average in 363 Major League games, including 54 doubles, 40 home runs and 120 RBIs with the Cubs, Marlins and Dodgers. Last season, the first baseman batted .207 in 66 games at Triple-A Pawtucket (Boston) while battling right knee and lower back strains. A native of Chon-Nam, South Korea, Choi and Rays pitcher Jae Seo were high school teammates.

Andrade, 28, owns a 2.76 ERA in 226 career Minor League outings and has struck out 424 batters while walking 112 in 319 innings. The Rays selected him in the 2005 Rule 5 Draft from Toronto and immediately traded him to the Padres for cash considerations. The Royals later claimed him off waivers in Spring Training in March 2006. He made his Major League debut last season, appearing in four games with the Royals and allowing five runs in 4 2/3 innings.

For Peguero, 25, his contract keeps him in the organization that originally inked him as a non-drafted free agent in 1999. He was 10-12 with a 2.97 ERA last season at Double-A Montgomery, while throwing a career-high 151 2/3 innings. He has a career mark of 42-40 and a 3.78 ERA over seven seasons in the Rays system.

Velandia, 31, has appeared in 150 Major League games over parts of seven seasons with the Padres, Athletics and Mets. Last season, he batted .291 with 25 doubles, 10 home runs and 56 RBIs in 122 games with Triple-A Charlotte (White Sox).

Mohr, 30, appeared in 21 games last season with the Red Sox, batting .175 with two home runs. He owns a .250 career batting average with 78 doubles, 48 home runs and 154 RBIs in 497 Major League games in parts of six seasons with the Twins, Giants, Rockies and Red Sox.

For Haad, 29, his contract marks a return to the Rays organization, where he spent the first half of the 2002 season with Double-A Orlando and Triple-A Durham. His most extensive Major League action came in 2005 with the Giants, when he served as the backup catcher after Yorvit Torrealba was traded to the Mariners. He appeared in 17 games and hit .071 (2-for-28). He was adept at shutting down opponents' running games, throwing out five of 10 attempted base stealers.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.